Former US ally behind attack on CIA agents
WAS the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees in eastern Afghanistan this week, sending shock waves through the US spy agency, masterminded by a warlord who was once one of the CIA's key allies?
Jalaluddin Haqqani is believed by some US officials to have ordered the attack from his hideout in Pakistan. His suspected role in the deadliest incident for CIA forces in 25 years highlights the shifting nature of alliances forged by Western involvement in the region, and the difficulty of telling friend from foe in today's conflict.
The Pakistani Taliban yesterday claimed that it was behind the bombing in a bid to harm the CIA's ability to launch missile strikes inside Pakistan.
But Pentagon officials suggested that the suicide bombing in Khost Province was a revenge strike for counter-insurgency operations led by the CIA against the so-called Haqqani network.
"Those guys have recently been on a big Haqqani binge," said one Pentagon consultant. "I would be shocked if the bombing on Wednesday was not some kind of retaliation."
During the 1980s, Mr Haqqani was a respected commander battling, with Western support, against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. After they withdrew, he became a member of the US-approved coalition that formed the post-occupation government.
Mr Haqqani received thousands of dollars in financial support and arms, and provided the US with valuable intelligence.
But after the Taliban seized power, he became more hostile to the West.
After the September 11 attacks, Mr Haqqani, who had forged links with Osama bin Laden, was named number three on the hit list of America's most wanted." (© Independent News Service)