Karzai says minister assassinated; points finger at Afghan officials
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The leader of Afghanistan's interim government, Hamid Karzai, said Friday the killing of Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Abdul Rahman was an "assassination" and that five senior military and defense officials in Karzai's government were involved.
Rahman was killed Thursday. Original reports said that Muslim pilgrims, frustrated at having waited as long as two days to get a flight from Kabul airport to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, stormed a plane carrying Rahman and beat him to death.
At an impromptu press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Karzai said the five ministers -- including the head of the intelligence ministry, Gen. Abdullah Tawhedi; the technical deputy of the Ministry of Defense, Gen. Qalander Big, and a Supreme Court justice, Haji Halim -- and 15 other suspects have been linked to the assassination.
The three named suspects are believed to have fled to Mecca. All are top members of the Northern Alliance.
Three high-ranking officials in the government have been arrested -- Gen. Abdul Rub, commander of the personal protection unit; Gen. Din Mohamad Jurat, a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Interior; and Maj. Faqir Mohamad, security commander of the airport where the killing took place.
Karzai said the killing was done for personal reasons and refused to accept that it was a conspiracy, despite 20 people in his own government being implicated.
Earlier Friday, high-ranking officials in Afghanistan's interim government told CNN that Rahman was stabbed to death in a deliberate attack, not beaten in a spontaneous outburst by the frustrated pilgrims.
A very high-ranking official in the Defense Ministry called Rahman's death "an assassination," while another official said Rahman died in a planned, deliberate attack.
Four independent government sources confirmed that Rahman was stabbed with a large knife, and a hospital source said the minister received two deep chest wounds and a wound to the leg.
Afghan airline heads back to the sky
January 24, 2002
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
WORLD TOP STORIES:
Blix: 'Iraq could do more'
N. Korea warns of nuclear conflict
Serb hardliner refuses to plead
NASA: Flight-deck video found
Caracas tense after bombs
|Back to the top|