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    Lives of Jan Mohammad Khan and Hasham Watanwal

    TIRINKOT (PAN): Jan Mohammad Khan, former governor of Uruzgan and close advisor to President Hamid Karzai, was killed on Sunday night.

    He was an elder of Popalzai tribe in Uruzgan.

    Khan had no education or prominent standing prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During the war against the Soviets he served as a commander in the Jamaat-i-Islami Party of Afghanistan led by Borhanuddin Rabani in Uruzgan.

    He later joined Jabha-i-Nijat Milli or National Salvation Front, another jihadi movement led by Sibghatullah Mujaddadi, and remained with the group until the victory of the mujaheddin. He was Uruzgan governor for nearly four years under President Burhanuddin Rabani.

    Khan quit his job during the Taliban period. Under the Taliban, he spent three years in a Kandahar jail on charges of working for former King Mohammad Zahir Shah.

    When Hamid Karzai was declared Afghan president in Bonn, Karzai visited Kandahar and met Taliban Defence Minister Mullah Obaidullah in the Shah Wali Kot district. Karzai accepted the peaceful surrender of Kandahar on the condition that Khan be released.

    Khan had no government job during the first three months of Karzai’s interim government. He was later appointed Uruzgan governor, a position he held from 2002 to 2004. Some western countries criticized the appointment and pressured Karzai to remove him from his job.

    Karzai then asked him to come to Kabul to serve as an advisor on tribal affairs.

    Khan was a close friend of Karzai’s father, Abdul Ahmad Karzai, and was believed to mediate family disputes among the Karzai brothers.

    He is survived by four wives, 18 daughters, and 16 sons, the oldest is whom is 30 years old.

    His nephew, Matiullah Khan, is the highway security commander in Uruzgan and is rumored as a possible successor to Khan as elder of the Popolzai tribe.

    Hasham Watanwal, an Uruzgan representative in the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Parliament, was also killed in Sunday night’s attack.

    Watanwal was a resident of Talani area on the outskirts of Tirinkot City. He graduated from Kabul University in 1952 with a degree in chemistry and biology.

    He held various positions in government prior to and during the administration of Communist President Mohammad Najibullah, including Herat revenue department head, Khost provincial committee secretary, and deputy minister of transport and civil aviation.

    His family lives in Sweden, but he came to Afghanistan after the collapse of Taliban government and represented Uruzgan in the Wolesi Jirga during the first and the second terms of the parliament.

    He was a close friend of Jan Mohammad Khan’s from the same village. He is survived by two wives, three sons and three daughters, who live in Sweden.

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