Rabbani Confirms Masood Dead, Blames Taliban and Pakistan
Afghan opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood died Saturday after a suicide bombing plotted by Pakistan, the Taliban and alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden, ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani said.
In the first official confirmation of the veteran commander's death, Rabbani described him as a "national hero" who had martyred himself for "jihad and resistance".
A spokesman for Rabbani said Masood had died at 10:00 am (0530 GMT) Saturday morning in a hospital in northern Afghanistan, after losing his last battle against injuries sustained in Sunday's suicide bombing.
"Masood was martyred in a conspiracy involving Pakistan, the terrorist group of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban," Rabbani said in a message read to AFP by his spokesman, Engineer Beryalai.
"He was a national hero of the Afghan jihad and resistance. He was a symbol of resistance and jihad for the past 30 years [and a] thorn in the eyes of Afghanistan's enemies."
Pakistan-based news agency Afghan Islamic Press reported that Masood had been buried in his home district of Bozarak in the Panjshir, a beautiful but strategic valley northeast of Kabul which he has been his military stronghold for decades.
Rabbani and other opposition alliance leaders attended the service along with thousands of mujahideen fighters, it said. The report could not be immediately confirmed -- KABUL (AFP)
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