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Haq’s killing in line with tradition

October 27, 2001


ISLAMABAD, Oct 26: From the moment Abdul Haq was cornered by the Taliban inside Afghanistan, he knew he was a dead man.

It took the Taliban only a few hours after the capture of the exiled opposition veteran on Friday to do the inevitable, unloading clips from their Kalashnikov rifles into the bodies of Haq and two companions somewhere near Kabul.

In Afghanistan, no one recognises the rules of war set by the Geneva Convention. It is a conflict where there are few prisoners and the more senior the person captured, the more likely the execution.

And, as in so many other areas, when it comes to executions the Taliban have proved the most extreme of all Afghan groups. By the time appeals for clemency reached the Taliban, Haq was already dead and only bodies were on offer.

Haq, who won fame for his role in fighting Soviet occupation forces in the 1980s, knew that the Taliban had already warned that anyone helping the U.S. campaign to remove them would be killed.

The Taliban said he was carrying cash to buy converts to the cause, a time-tested Afghan method of persuading people to change sides that they have used themselves. In their eyes, the 43-year-old veteran of Afghanistan’s struggles was a traitor.

His end was merciful compared to that suffered by another man the Taliban considered a traitor — Najibullah, the president imposed by the Soviet Union.

REVENGE: Abdul Haq’s brother said he was seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and son.

“I can only say that when someone is extremely angry, like my brother was against the Taliban, they sometimes lose control and head to their death,” explained Haji Abdul Qadir.

Qadir said his brother’s wife and son were murdered last year in Peshawar, assassinations the family — which includes several influential anti-Taliban figures — suspected were ordered by the hardline militia.

But Qadir, giving his first public reaction to the reported execution, said he was proud of his brother’s mission.—Agencies