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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 15:14 GMT
Haq's family vows to pursue peace
Hajii din Mohammad, right, and other Afghans at the memorial service for opposition commander Abdul Haq
The family denied that US planes helped Haq
By Alan Johnston in Peshawar

When news broke that the Taleban had executed Afghan opposition commander Abdul Haq on spying charges, it had been thought that his remains would be brought back to his home here.

Commander Haq's brother told a news conference that the Taleban initially agreed to this, and the body had been handed over to a small delegation of relatives.

Abdul Haq
Haq's relatives vowed to carry on his work
But on the journey to Peshawar, near the Afghan city of Jalalabad, the delegation was surrounded by Taleban troops.

The relatives were then forced to bury the commander on nearby land with which he had ancestral links.

The family is clearly concerned that they were not allowed to perform the proper funeral rights at the hurried burial.

Mysterious circumstances

The news conference shed little light on the exact circumstances of commander Haq's capture.

According to his brother, the commander's party was approached by a Taleban group that initially appeared to want peace talks with him but that then there was a clash.

The family denies reports that the United States launched a bombing run in an effort to help the beleaguered commander.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the end of last week that Haq had received some assistance from the air.

Major opposition role

Commander Haq was expected to play a major role in any government set up by the exiled king Zahir Shah, and he is thought to have gone into Afghanistan in order to foment revolt against the Taleban.

The failure of his venture is widely seen as being a serious setback to the king's camp.

His family however describe him as having been on a peace mission and his relatives who have been influential in eastern Afghanistan in the past say that they will carry on his work.

See also:

27 Oct 01 | South Asia
Mystery surrounds Haq's final journey
26 Oct 01 | South Asia
Afghan warrior turned diplomat
26 Oct 01 | South Asia
Afghan powerbrokers: Who's who
26 Oct 01 | South Asia
Exiled warlord 'in talks with Taleban'
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