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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 06:57 GMT
Mystery remains over CIA deaths
Trial security
High security was evident at Mir Aimal Kasi's trial

On 25 January 1993, Aimal Khan Kansi (also known as Mir Aimal Kansi) waited outside CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, and shot dead two CIA agents when their car stopped at nearby traffic lights.

Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, he waited for the men to drive by and then killed them when their car had to stop.

He did not shoot a woman passenger in the car.

After the killing, he made his escape and within a day had left the United States for Pakistan.

Revenge for US policy

He was not then found for over four years, despite being put on the FBI's most wanted list.

In a complex, covert operation, the FBI captured him in Pakistan and he was returned to the US where he stood trial, was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death.

His only explanation for the killings was to say that it was to avenge the US bombing of Iraq and US foreign policy which, he said, had harmed Islamic nations.

He repeated this justification hours before being taken the death chamber, telling the BBC Urdu service that he wanted register his "objection to [US] foreign policy... specifically their pro-Israel policy, their anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian policy".

He denied having links to Osama Bin Laden, although he admitted having friends among the Taleban and having met the al-Qaeda leader once in Kandahar.

Mir Aimal Kasi wanted poster
Kasi eluded capture for four years

"I saw Osama Bin Laden once in Kandahar. I was standing there. People were shaking his hands - I, too, shook hands with him."

But he stressed: "He didn't know me".

The convicted man undertook several appeals against the death sentence to the Virginia and federal supreme courts but the appeals were rejected and the death sentence upheld.

He was executed by lethal injection on 14 November for the murder of the two CIA employees.

Fearing that there could be a violent response to his execution, the US State Department has warned of the danger of attacks that could target the United States or its foreign interests.

Petroleum workers killed

One reason to fear attacks in response to the execution is that immediately after Mr Kansi was found guilty of murdering the CIA agents, four Americans working for the Union Texas Petroleum Company were shot dead in Pakistan.

Those killings were linked by the US media to the Kansi case and a group in Pakistan was reported to have claimed responsibility and warned of more killings if he was sentenced to death.

Beyond his reported confession that the killings avenged US policy towards Muslim countries, Aimal Kasi has not said why he killed the two men or how he chose or identified them.

But his conviction brought not only the killings in Pakistan and the claim of responsibility by those sympathising with him, but also protests in many Muslim countries.

Scene of the Bali bombing
The US fears more Bali-type attacks

In Pakistan, there was widespread anger at the way in which he was captured and taken out of the country.

Having fled the United States for Pakistan, the convicted man then disappeared for over four years, but was believed to be hiding either along the Pakistan-Afghan border or inside Afghanistan.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation organised a major operation to find him.

In June 1997, he was captured by FBI agents in Pakistan and then taken back by them to the United States.

Brain damage

A CIA press release following his capture said that he had "been delivered abroad by Afghan individuals to the custody of United States authorities" and then transported to the US.

He was said to have confessed to the killings after his capture.

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, opposes the death penalty on principle and has campaigned against its use in this case.

The organisation says that he was forcibly abducted from Pakistan.

His own appeals against the death sentence were concerned with the manner of his capture and transfer to the US rather than pleas of innocence or mitigating circumstances in relation to the killings.

At his trial, Mr Kansi's uncle testified that his nephew had not been politically active and bore no hatred for the US.

His defence attorney argued that he had suffered brain damage as a child which left him unable to appreciate the consequences of his actions.

Little evidence of political activity

The jury was unimpressed with the argument and found him guilty of murder.

Mr Kansi had been in the United States since 1991 and had applied for political asylum saying that he faced persecution in Pakistan.

He came from the province of Baluchistan in Pakistan and is reported to have taken part in demonstrations at the university there.

That is the only evidence, apart from his confession, of political activity or beliefs.

His execution brings his story to an end - but there will remain little real explanation of his motives or why the two CIA agents who died were his targets.

See also:

07 Nov 02 | Americas
30 Oct 02 | Middle East
12 Oct 02 | Middle East
16 Nov 97 | In Depth
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