Afghan Vice President passes away

3971834713KABUL, Afghanistan — Muhammad Qasim Fahim, the Vice President of Afghanistan, a formidable power broker and former warlord who played a crucial role in ousting the Taliban and shaping the political order that followed, died on Sunday, less than a month before Afghans are to elect a new leader.
Mr. Fahim, who was said to be either 56 or 57, died of a heart attack, according to a close friend and political ally, Maulavi Ata ul Rahman Salim.
His death created a rift in the Afghan power structure, removing a crucial player from the factional and ethnic landscape as well as cabinet politics.
Mr. Fahim was a foremost leader of the country’s ethnic Tajik minority, and was a powerful and early voice in bringing the support of northern warlords to President Hamid Karzai and helping keep the peace with Afghan Pashtuns. At the same time, he faced persistent accusations of corruption and human rights abuses.
“It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing away of Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim,” Mr. Karzai’s office said, declaring three days of national mourning.

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