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19970619 How the F.B.I. Got Its Man, Half the World Away - The New York Times (FBI arrests Mir Amal Kansi on Afghanistan/Pakistan border - PK allows US extradition for sham trial - 2002 execution)

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1997
How the F.B.I. Got Its Man, Half the World Away
By DAVID JOHNSTON
JUNE 19, 1997
Just before 4 A.M. on Sunday, five F.B.I. agents sneaked into a hostel in
Afghanistan, where Afghan informants had told them they would find
Mir Amal Kansi, one of the world's most wanted men, the suspect in a
deadly 1993 rampage outside C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va..
Senior law-enforcement and intelligence officials said Mr. Kansi, who
had been asleep in bed, drowsily answered the knock at his door, then
spat out a stream of expletives when the door was flung open.
But he did not put up a fight as his flight from the law came to an end.
''Once he knew the jig was up, there was no resistance,'' one official
said.
2
ARTICLES REMAINING
Later, after a grueling overland trip to Pakistan to an air base at an
undisclosed location, the agents and their captive boarded an American
military aircraft, painted in camouflage markings with an American flag
on the tail.
Mr. Kansi switched from Pathan obscenities to polite English, the
officials said. He had grown a beard since the attack, but when an agent
showed him a wanted poster with his photograph, Mr. Kansi examined
the clean-shaven likeness and said, ''Yes, that's me.''
Today Mr. Kansi, a 33-year-old Pakistani with a graduate degree in
English and, the officials said, an unexplained grudge against the
Central Intelligence Agency, was brought before a judge in Fairfax
County in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. He was ordered held
without bond by a judge in the shooting deaths of Lansing H. Bennett, a
doctor, and Frank Darling, a communications engineer, both C.I.A.
employees, on the morning of Jan. 25, 1993.
He did not enter a plea because does not yet have a lawyer.
The Afghans' decision to help the Americans ended a quest that had
caused United States law-enforcement, intelligence and diplomatic
officials years of frustration. And the capture of Mr. Kansi followed
many failures, which were described by Government officials.
F.B.I. agents, some disguised in burkas, the head-to-toe gowns women
wear in religious communities of the region, had been searching for Mr.
Kansi to no avail in and around Quetta, Pakistan, his home town, on the
Afghan border.
There was a bad tip that Mr. Kansi, whose name is also spelled Mir
Aimal Kansi and Mir Aimal Kasi, had fled to Thailand in 1994. There
was a botched raid four years ago, when Pakistani military and
intelligence officials, acting on a equally bad tip from the F.B.I.,
stormed the homes of Mr. Kansi's family in Quetta. They came up
empty-handed, but not before offending local political sensibilities.
But with the strange coalition of C.I.A. operatives, F.B.I. detectives,
Pakistani spies and Afghan warriors on his trail, it was only a matter of
time before the United States captured Mr. Kansi, Government officials
said today.
The breakthrough in the hunt came about two weeks ago through the
C.I.A.'s Near East division via the intelligence agency's station in
Pakistan. The agents there had maintained some paid informants
among the Afghan tribal headmen, guerrilla fighters, religious leaders
and village elders it had supported in a $3 billion covert operation
against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980's.
Mr. Kansi, Government officials say, spent much of his time as a
fugitive moving from mud-walled fort to mud-walled fort among the
many members of his extended family on both sides of the lightly
policed border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghans in the
border region, where the economy is largely based on opium and
smuggling, knew Mr. Kansi from his travels through Spin Buldak, a
depot town on the only passable road linking Quetta with Afghanistan.
Government officials said the Afghans decided to help apprehend Mr.
Kansi in the hopes of a $2 million reward offered by the United States.
The reward has not yet been paid, the officials said.
The Afghans put out the word that they could deliver Mr. Kansi to a
hostel near the border. United States officials hinted today that Mr.
Kansi was lured to the hotel by a ruse.
''I don't think he thought he was going to be arrested,'' said one official.
''He showed up and we arrested him.''
The exact details of Mr. Kansi's capture are being withheld by United
States officials, who would not say precisely where he was arrested or
disclose other details. Their demurrals, one official said, were mostly in
deference to Pakistan, the staging area for the arrest. Pakistan is an
Islamic Republic and its officials do not want to be seen by some of its
citizens as Washington's ally.
Without Pakistan's cooperation, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. could not have
worked the case. But that cooperation followed some pressure brought
to bear on Pakistan under a June 1995 Presidential Decision Directive, a
secret order in which the United States resolved to ''induce
cooperation'' from foreign nations where suspected terrorists and
criminals reside.
The arrest lifted spirits at the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., two battered
agencies whose past feuds are legendary. Today F.B.I. agents
introduced to C.I.A. employees received a standing ovation -- probably
the first time the bureau's agents had ever experienced such affection
from their cousins at the intelligence agency.
The F.B.I. agents ''put their lives on the line,'' the acting Director of
Central Intelligence, George J. Tenet, told the audience gathered in ''the
Bubble,'' the C.I.A.'s auditorium. He also praised officers from the
C.I.A.'s Counterterrorist Center and its Near East operations division
for ''a daring job well done.''
As the C.I.A. officers applauded, Mr. Kansi was being arraigned a few
miles away in Fairfax, Va. Wearing a dark green prison suit, he
appeared for two minutes at the Fairfax County court house, where he
told Judge J. Howe Brown that he understood the charges against him.
''Do you have a lawyer?'' the judge asked.
''No, I don't,'' Kansi replied in faintly accented English. ''I don't have
money to pay the lawyers, sir.''
Mr. Kansi, the son of a Pathan tribal leader who died in 1989 -- a death
that some of his friends and relatives have said left him mentally
unstable -- faces the death penalty if convicted on the murder charges.
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A version of this article appears in print on June 19, 1997, on Page A00003 of the National edition with the
headline: How the F.B.I. Got Its Man, Half the World Away. Order Reprints | Today's Paper | Subscribe
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