Mystery shrouds former Pak intelligence officer’s killing
The killing of former Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja, who was a former intelligence official having a pro-Taliban tilt, is shrouded in mystery.
Washington: The killing of former Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja, who was a former intelligence official having a pro-Taliban tilt, is shrouded in mystery after a little-known insurgent group accused him of working for the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart.
Khawaja’s bullet-riddled body was buried on Sunday, and with it the mystery-gripping Pakistan remains. He had placed himself solidly in the anti-American, pro-Taliban camp, The Washington Post reports.
“How could the mujaheddin kill their supporter?” asked Mohammed Zahid, 45, an engineer who attended the funeral.
According to emerging clues and security analysts, North Waziristan, a hub of Taliban fighters with links to Pakistan’s military, has evolved into a stew pot of militant groups, each with different loyalties, The Washington Post reports.
“Fiefdoms have been formed. It’s an area which is almost totally out of control of the state, and even the local Taliban leaders,” said Saad Muhammad, a retired general based in Peshawar.
Those messy alliances make it increasingly difficult to decipher who is on whose side, The Washington Post reports.
Khawaja, a onetime squadron leader in Pakistan’s air force, claimed to have ties to Osama bin Laden, and was long a go-between for militants and military. Recently, he became a legal adviser to five Virginia men accused of terrorism in Pakistan; in a March interview, he said the US government had framed them.
Still, many Pakistani militants loathed Khawaja for his role during a 2007 military siege of an Islamabad mosque, during which he allegedly set up a radical cleric’s arrest by convincing him to try to escape while disguised in a burqa, The Post reports.
Khawaja’s son told Pakistani television that his father intended to broker a peace deal between the military and Pakistani Taliban forces that attack inside the country.
Usama Khawaja, the ex-spy’s son, simply said it was “surely a conspiracy. My father had many secrets in his chest”.