Murder in the Airport

After one of his top officials is killed, Afghanistan's leader struggles to keep his fragile nation united

Standing in the cold rain on a rocky hillside cemetery outside Kabul, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai watched grimly as the body of his assassinated minister, Abdul Rahman, was lowered into the ground. "We will capture his killers," Karzai vowed, "and we will punish them."

Grabbing the culprits may be the easy part. Punishing them is a different matter. The suspects include senior military and intelligence officials in Karzai's fragile coalition government who belong to the Northern Alliance, an Afghan faction that didn't want Karzai in the first place. By going after the killers, the country's interim leader is headed for a...

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