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Haq 'received U.S. assistance'

Abdul Haq
Abdul Haq  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Mujahedeen leader Abdul Haq requested and received U.S. assistance in his failed mission to convince several Taliban leaders to defect, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Sunday

"The assistance, unfortunately, was from the air, and he was on the ground," Rumsfeld said on ABC's This Week. "And regrettably, he was killed."

Rumsfeld would not specify what kind of assistance Haq received, but he said it was not from the U.S. military.

"It was from another element of the government," he said.

A former U.S. government official who helped Haq arrange and finance his return to Afghanistan told CNN that his trip was coordinated with U.S. intelligence agencies as part of the effort to improve the fighting capabilities and coordination of opposition forces, and to try to persuade some Taliban forces to lay down their arms or defect to the opposition.

Haq was captured by the Taliban last week in Afghanistan and along with two others, was executed on Friday in Kabul, independent sources told CNN.

Some say 'yes,' some 'no' as to whether Taliban foe Abdul Haq was a spy. CNN's Rebecca Mackinnon hears the arguments (October 27)

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CNN sources who spoke to the Taliban in Afghanistan said Haq was buried Sunday in the Afghan town of Surkhrud, about six miles west of Jalalabad.

Kurt Lohbeck, a former colleague of the anti-Taliban leader, said Haq was in Afghanistan on a covert mission to convince several Taliban leaders to defect when he was captured and killed.

Haq was traveling with a large contingent of his own men, including former Mujahedeen and three foreigners, Lohbeck said.

"There was a double cross, apparently by one of the Taliban people, and they were surrounded," he said.

"[Haq] and his intelligence chief, they were captured, put on a phony, mock trial. I'm sure Abdul Haq proudly stood up and said that he was guilty of treason against the Taliban."

Lohbeck said after the trial, the Taliban shot and hanged Haq.

Friday, the Taliban said they also executed Haq's nephew and anti-Taliban commander, Haji Dawran, after they were found guilty of spying for the United States.

In the 1980s, Haq successfully led the Mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He split with the Taliban in the early 1990s and went into exile.

He lived in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, for the past decade before returning to Pakistan in late September.

"He was a devout Muslim, a dedicated patriot, but he also looked forward to a modern world for Afghanistan to enter the 21st century," Lohbeck said.

"That's what he was working on when he was killed."


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