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Afghanistan: Opposition Leader Killed By Taliban

Islamabad, 26 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The Taliban said today they captured veteran opposition commander Abdul Haq and executed him within hours on orders of the Afghan clerics' council. "The Taliban have killed Abdul Haq along with two other people," Information Ministry official Abdul Himat Hannan said. "This happened on the basis of the verdict of the Ulema (clerics' council) that anyone who assists the United States is liable to be killed," he said. Taliban intelligence chief Qari Ahmedullah said Haq's fate should deter others from entering Afghanistan.

In Rome, Afghanistan's former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, mourned Haq's death. He said the commander had been on a mission to recruit tribal chiefs to back a peace deal.

Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is calling on Muslims around the world to conduct demonstrations for the next three days in support of the Taliban cause.

Taliban headquarters in Kandahar issued a statement in which Omar said that cause is holy struggle (jihad), not terrorism. Omar said the terrorists are the United States, India, Russia, and Israel whom he called Islam's enemies.

The opposition Northern Alliance said today it lost ground near Mazar-i-Sharif in heavy fighting. Western news agencies report that U.S. jets resumed attacks against targets in Afghanistan after sundown tonight, following a brief lull.