The Times, London
Afghan guerrilla executed for his opposition to the Taleban
November 10, 2001,,60-2001373289,00.html


Death of an Inconvenient Man

Abdul Haq may have been a charismatic leader, a man dedicated to and
capable of freeing his country from the evil Taliban. Or he may have
been a scoundrel warlord. Or he may have been something in between --
perhaps an ineffectual Don Quixote type.

Whatever he was, it is clear that he was not favored by the rulers of
the Empire. Unlike the Northern Alliance, which is made up mostly of
ethnic minorities, Haq was a Pashtun, a member of the major ethnic group
in Afghanistan. He operated, or tried to operate, out of Pakistan, not
in the north. And apparently all the United States gave him in aid was 
satellite phones. Those he refused, because he was already well-equipped 
with them, and he reportedly feared they would be used by the Americans 
to track him. In any case, he was "ambivalent" about U.S. aid in the 
first place, according to the Times of London. And according to the 
L.A. TIMES, he was London's man as much as Washington's.

According to some of the reports I have read, the CIA referred to Haq as
"Hollywood Haq." This may mean that he was all hat and no cattle, as
Texans used to say. Or it could mean that he was too headstrong,
charismatic, and popular to be easily manipulated by foreigners. It is
true, apparently, that he did major damage to the Soviets during the
occupation, and that he was very popular among young Afghani women at 
that time -- but that was when he was younger and a lot better looking. 

> After the terrorist attacks on America last month, Haq came to the
> forefront of the campaign by the United States and Afghan opposition
> leaders to overthrown the Taleban. But he was deeply disturbed by
> the US air war against Afghanistan and appealed to Tony Blair to use
> his influence in Washington to halt the bombing. He declared that the
> Taleban were "collapsing from within", but gave warning that the
> bombings would only strengthen them by uniting Afghans.

So, he didn't support the bombing. Who cares, and why? Well, Abdul Haq
is now dead. He went on some kind of mission into Afghanistan,
apparently trying to gain support with local chieftains. But the Taliban
ambushed him, cornered him, and finally killed him. In the hours before
he was caught, he was in constant indirect contact, via satphone, with
the U.S. (I almost wrote American) command. They did nothing for him,
according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES:

> His call triggered a frantic rescue effort via a U.S. businessman in
> Peshawar and Robert C. McFarlane, national security advisor to
> President Reagan, in Washington. Haq's friends and family pleaded
> for a U.S. helicopter rescue. The CIA, which says it had no contact
> with Haq before the rescue plea, responded by firing a missile at the
> Taliban troops from a pilotless drone in the area.

The drone is called the Predator. It cruises at 87 miles per hour and
carries one or two small anti-tank missiles. It reportedly arrived about
two hours late. An F/A-18 cruises at nearly 600 milers per hour, is
capable of more than twice that speed, and carries enough ordnance,
conservatively, to level a city block.

Also from the L.A. TIMES:

> When Haq's group realized they were next to a hilltop once used as a
> helicopter landing point by the Soviets, they asked for a helicopter
> rescue attempt.
> "They [the United States] had surveillance on the scene in two to 2 1/2 
> hours, > and I continued to ask for a helicopter," Ritchie [a U.S. 
> businessman] said.
> "I told them if we can get a helicopter in, we can get him out."
> But as the night wore on, Ritchie said, "it became apparent they
> weren't going to do that."

Another report, this one quoted in the DAILY TELEGRAPH, says that three
CIA men went with him and were actually evacuated by helicopter:

> Mr MacFarlane seems to have called the CIA, for it was a helicopter
> from that agency that arrived, taking the three Americans and pouring
> fire from a machine-gun into Taliban positions.
> According to Mr Haq's brothers, he told them on the phone that the
> helicopter had promised to return for him.
> A little while later, he told them the aircraft had come back, but only
> to fired more bullets and rockets.

God knows what really happened. Did our rulers let him die on purpose?
Did they betray him to the Taliban? We'll probably never know. But I'm
sure they didn't shed any tears for him. Such men are inconveniences to
Great Powers playing the Great Game ...

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