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US asks Pakistan to hunt down and extradite Illiyas Kashmiri

January 06, 2010 15:53 IST

Suspecting the hand of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami commander Ilyas Kashmiri in coordinating the suicide strike on the top secret Central Intelligence Agency base in eastern Afghanistan, United States authorities have asked Pakistan to hunt down and extradite the dreaded terrorist.

Eight CIA operatives were killed when a Jordanian terrorist walked into the Chapman base in the Khost region and blew himself up. US intelligence officials said later that the Arab militant was a triple agent and could have been used as a human bomb by the Al Qaeda.

A media report in Pakistan said that an investigation had revealed that the attack was planned in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan tribal region and the bomber is believed to have been sent by Kashmiri, the fugitive chief of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir chapter of HuJI.

American media reports said that the suicide bomber who killed CIA personnel inside the Afghanistan base was a Jordanian-born terrorist Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year old doctor, who had been invited to the base because he claimed to have information targeting elusive Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's second-in-command Ayman-al-Zawahiri.

The reports also feared that the wily Egyptian could have planned a counter coup against the Americans and sent the Jordanian bomber. US intelligence agencies have earlier marked Kashmiri as being closed to both the Al Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Media reports last year had said that Kashmiri was killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan in September along with Al Qaeda leader Nazimuddin Zalalov.

However, Kashmiri resurfaced the following month and promised retribution against the US.

An interior ministry official said Pakistani authorities are trying to trace Kashmiri for his involvement in several terrorist attacks across the country.

Kashmiri is number 4 on the most wanted list of the Pakistan government and his shot into infamy was getting photographed with a severed head of an Indian soldier in a raid across the LoC.

He was arrested after two suicide attacks on former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 but was released after a few weeks due to lack of evidence.

He later shifted to Waziristan and joined hands with slain Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud to establish a terrorist training camp.

The attack on the CIA base was the deadliest single strike against the American intelligence agency, since the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut.

The alleged bomber, Daily News said was sent to Afghanistan with the mission to penetrate the Afghan National Army so that he could carry out his suicide mission.

The CIA base in Khost was at the heart of a covert programme overseeing drone strikes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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