Lal worked for peace, say relatives
KABUL (PAN): A son of Sabar Lal, a former jihadi leader and Guantanamo Bay inmate who was killed last week by foreign troops in eastern Nangarhar province, said his father worked for peace in the country and had no links with armed groups.
Lal, who was released from the notorious US detention centre in Cuba three years ago, was killed by NATO-led soldiers during a raid on his house in the Angor Bagh area of Jalalabad, the provincial capital, on Saturday night.
His 12-year-old son, Ziaullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News Lal promoted peace in the region and had no ties to any armed groups. He appealed to the government to arrest his father's killers and bring them to justice.
"My elder brother is 15 years old. We are left without a patron. Our father was the only bread-winner of our family," Ziaullah said.
His servant Gul Mohammad, 60, said it was midnight when he heard a noise. "Some gunmen scaled the wall of the house and told me they are Afghan army soldiers. I was asked to open the gate and I did so," the servant said.
As he opened the gate, the soldiers tied his arms behind his back and blindfolded him, Mohammad said, adding moments later, he heard gunshots.
"I saw Lal's bullet-riddled body lying in the house verandah," he said. Mohammad accused the US troops of scattering house, breaking gates and taking away jewelry.
Other family members, women and children, were not present at the time of the raid. They had gone to Kunar to celebrate the Eid festival, he said.
The commander's nephew, Mohammad Naeem, said his uncle fought against the Taliban, and he had been border police commander in Kunar during the interim government. Naeem urged the government to launch a transparent investigation into the murder.
A tribal elder from Kunar, Haji Miran, said Lal had been arrested and released by foreign troops a few days ahead of his assassination.
"If he was a criminal, then why he was released after questioning," the elder asked.
The International Assistance Security Force (ISAF) accused the ex-commander of having ties to the Al Qaeda and assisting insurgents in the Pech Dara district of Kunar. The force denied its troops had seized cash and jewels from his house.
In a statement, ISAF said Lal had been arrested and released by Afghan forces for investigation about his links to Al Qaeda. He was killed when he appeared with a gun during the operation, the force said, adding the troops killed him in self-defence.
It said the operation was carried out on the basis of credible intelligence reports that he had links with Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Kunar.
Three days ago, hundreds of tribal elders from eastern provinces condemned Lal's killing at a gathering held in Jalalabad.
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