With Carl Limbacher and
For the story behind the story...
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2001
Novak: CIA Betrayed Afghan Freedom Fighter
CIA officials "flat out lied" when, after the execution of Afghan freedom fighter Abdul Haq last Friday, the agency disavowed any previous relationship with him, leading conservative columnist Robert Novak reported Thursday.
"Actually, the Central Intelligence Agency had been in contact with Haq's representatives since last February," Novak claimed, though the agency was distinctly unenthusiastic over the Afghan war hero's strategy to overthrow the Taliban.
Even after Osama bin Laden's Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., the agency remained "indifferent" to Haq's plans to "flip" members of Osama's army.
Novak had two conversations with Haq shortly before he was captured by enemy forces on Oct. 26, where the Afghan freedom fighter complained that ongoing U.S. air strikes made his mission more dangerous.
Earlier in the month, former Reagan national security official Robert McFarlane lobbied the Bush administration to postpone the air war until Haq's mission had a chance to succeed. The White House was "not receptive," Novak said.
When Haq found himself trapped on a high mountain pass south of Kabul last week, he called McFarlane for help, who in turn alerted the CIA.
For Haq, that move may have been a fatal miscalculation. He was already in enemy hands when an unmanned U.S. Predator plane fired a missile at a nearby Taliban convoy.
"Whether this influenced
the Taliban, Haq was convicted in a drumhead court-martial and
promptly executed," Novak reported.