Abdul Haq Fell into Trap Laid by Bin Laden

According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, one of Osama bin Laden’s special elite units was responsible for the capture and death of the Afghan opposition leader and guerrilla hero Abdul Haq three days ago. The same unit, commanded by al Qaeda’s senior operations chief Muhamed Atif (aka Sobhi Abu Sitta), executed him in an Al Qaeda installation inside Kabul, on orders from bin Laden, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad chief Ayman Zuweiri and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
The manner of Abdul Haq’s capture and death – a grave blow to American plans for post-war Afghanistan – lays bare the weak links in the American operational and intelligence setup in Pakistan and Afghanistan alike. In fact, the trap was laid for him well in advance for the express purpose of exposing those weaknesses.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources reveal that in early October, soon after the US launched its Afghanistan offensive, tribal representatives from south Afghanistan approached Haq with a request to intercede with the Americans to save their territories from aerial bombing. They were also authorized to discuss raising an anti-Taliban tribal revolt; if adequate American financial and military support were forthcoming, they would consider an operation to wrest Kabul from the ruling clique.
Haq passed the message on to the CIA station in Pakistan and Pakistani military intelligence, both of whom told him to go ahead.
The story emerging now is that neither intelligence service checked the bona fides of those tribal representatives. Had they done so, they might have discovered them to be agents of bin Laden.
Those agents tracked Haq’s departure from his home in Peshawar in the middle of last week, his crossing into Afghanistan and the next lap of his journey to the Afghan villages east of Jalalabad where he expected to rendezvous with the men he believed to be tribal agents bent on revolt.
He never reached his destination. Taliban soldiers blocking his path forced him to make a detour to Azar, a town 30 km from the Pakistan frontier. There he stopped for two days, giving the al Qaeda unit, under Muhammad Atif’s command time to catch up with him. Haq soon realized he was pinned down. Using his satellite phone, he sent distress calls to his people inPeshawar, his American contracts and the Pakistanis. They were picked up by those recipients, but also by Bin Laden’s men, enabling them to pinpoint his exact location.
Midnight Thursday, October 25, Haq and his two companions fled Azar on horseback. Driven into a deep gorge, they rode straight into the arms of their pursuers.
Bundled into a waiting Taliban military vehicle, the three captives were driven to a central al Qaeda command base in Kabul. This was done deliberately to demonstrate to the tribal chiefs in Afghanistan and Pakistan that, notwithstanding three weeks of intense American air raids, Taliban and al Qaeda military convoys were free to come and go in the Afghan capital. It was also a gesture of defiance to show, in the wake of the American announcement that all al Qaeda bases in Kabul had been destroyed, that bin Laden’s main command base in north Kabul was standing and functioning. That facility was accordingly chosen for the execution of Abdul Haq and his companions.
Monday, October 29, the Americans announced they were setting up a forward base for 1000 Special Forces troops in territory held by the opposition Northern Alliance in the north of the country. The base will be located in the same frontier area that Haq covered last week on his last journey. Intelligence observers report the area as being under al Qaeda intelligence control – not that of the Northern Alliance. The new base will therefore avail the United States campaign little in either operational or intelligence benefits.

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