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Afghan Guerrilla Leader Masood Buried in Home Village - 2001-09-16


Afghanistan's assassinated guerrilla leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, has been buried in his native Panjsher valley in northeastern Afghanistan.

Hundreds of supporters lined streets (in the Bozarak district) to bid farewell to the slain military leader of Afghanistan's opposition Northern Alliance. The country's ousted president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was at the funeral.

Mr. Masood's 13-year-old son, Ahmad, spoke to the tearful crowd of mourners and vowed to take up his father's fight against the Taleban.

The slain guerrilla leader's coffin was draped in the green, white and black flag of the ousted Afghan government. The funeral was marked by chaotic scenes of grief and calls for revenge.

Mr. Masood, who was 49, died from wounds suffered last Sunday in a suicide bombing by two Arabs posing as journalists.

Mr. Rabbani and other leaders of his opposition blame the Taleban, Pakistani military intelligence agents and wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden for the assassination. Pakistan and the Taleban deny involvement. Osama bin Laden has not commented.

The death of Mr. Masood, who was an ethnic Tajik, is seen as a severe blow to the opposition's fight against the ruling Taleban, which controls 90 percent of Afghanistan. The opposition holds a small section of the north.

European leaders have condemned Mr. Masood's death. A spokesman for the British Foreign Ministry calls it an act of terrorism and says it shows the need to restore democracy to Afghanistan.

Leaders of the French Parliament hailed what they called Mr. Masood's courage and deep concern for the well-being of the Afghan people. Iran and Russia also sent condolences.

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