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Aimal Kansi's Execution

14 November, 2002

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On 25 January 1993, Mir Aimal Kansi , a Pakistani living in the US since 1991, stood waiting near the gate of the CIA's 258 acre headquarters in Langley. He was looking for two CIA agents and obviously knew his men. He spotted the car carrying the targets and went to it when it halted at the stop light on Dolly Madison Boulevard, barely 500 yards from the main gate. He pulled out a AK-47 assault rifle and shot the men inside, spared a woman passenger and sped away. His victims were Lansing C. Bennet, who was described in a Washington Post story as a "physician and intelligence analyst for the CIA", and Frank Darling, who was "assigned to tasks involving covert operations. Three others inside were ermanently injured, also identified as CIA agents. The next day Ansi was reported to have fled to Pakistan from the National Airport. His whereabouts were not known for years and the FBI did not got any information on him despite offering the largest reward ever - US $ 2 million - for any information leading to his arrest.

Who was Kansi and why did he kill the two CIA operatives? The answers are still not clear. Some have suggested that he was an Iranian agent; others say he was a CIA operative betrayed by the men who later became his victims. The big question is how he got into the US and how he got out despite a full alert. His Pakistani passport had expired in March 1992 and according to Pakistani officials had not been renewed. What did he travel on? Aimal Kansi's life in the US also had its mysterious aspects. On arrival in March 1991 - on a business visa - he sought asylum, claiming that he was persecuted in Pakistan for supporting the Balochi separatist cause. Not only did he get permission to stay but also got a job with Excel Courier Inc. on a salary of $700 a week, an unusual windfall for one with limited qualification. The company is owned by Chris Marchetti, son of Victor Marchetti, a former CIA official who had once been an aide to its Director, Richard Helms. The Kansi family lives in Quetta, a city from where the CIA had engaged in covert operations during the Afghan war years. Apart from anything else, the Kansi case suggests that there is a network within the US capable of helping men like Kansi to flee justice after committing a heinous crime.

Fugitive at Large

Kansi is reported to have flown to Karachi from Washington D.C., and from there to his home town, Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan Province in Pakistan. In Quetta, he went home, had a meal with his family, and subsequently disappeared without an apparent trace. From time to time he was reported to have been spotted but nobody could get a fix on him. In 1994 January, a Pakistani correspondent claimed that he had met Kansi in Sehwan in Sindh. The correspondent, who happened to be in Sehwan for a visit, saw a clean-shaven, fair and tall person and said he recognised him immediately as Aimal Kansi. Pictures of Kansi have appeared on wanted posters all over the world. Between puffs of hashish, the person said that he was in the transport business in Karachi; but refused to give his residential address in that city. Kansi was apparaently very impressed by the quality of the hashish available in Sehwan. After this chance encounter Kansi disappeared from the hotel and was never seen again.

The Arrest

According to the Washington Post, "Government officials said U.S. investigators, working with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, launched at least one operation to lure Kansi across the mountain passes from Afghanistan into a trap. In the end, judging from the FBI's and CIA's statement saying that "Afghan individuals" had delivered up Kansi, it appeared on Tuesday night that word of a rich reward for Kansi's capture had reached a tribal leader in Afghanistan.

"Federal investigators have said in interviews over the last three years that they still do not know the source of the rage against the United States. They said it might have to do with the death of his father, or his uncle -- a Pakistani government official killed in an 1984 ambush in Quetta -- or a friend who had fought with the CIA-backed rebels in Afghanistan. But they noted that Kansi is a member of the Pathan tribe, which flourishes on both sides of the Kyhber Pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that an old Pathan saying states that 100 years is too short a time to wait for revenge."

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