Authorities seek trail of CIA suspect Pakistani kin say he left hometown

February 12, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Authorities trying to track down the man suspected of killing two CIA employees said yesterday that they think he returned to his hometown in Pakistan before fleeing from there several days ago.

U.S. officials said a man using the same last name as the suspect, Mir Aimal Kansi, flew from Washington to Pakistan Jan. 26, a day after the attack outside CIA headquarters in McLean, Va.

In Quetta, a remote provincial capital in southwestern Pakistan, relatives said Mr. Kansi had returned to the city last month but left again just before he was identified as the prime suspect in the case.

The relatives said Mr. Kansi told them he was going to Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, and would travel on to the United States. But the Associated Press said Pakistani law enforcement officers suspect that he might have slipped across the border into Afghanistan or Iran.

Mr. Kansi, 28, is accused of the Jan. 25 attack on employees waiting in rush-hour traffic to turn in to CIA headquarters.

He is the son of a wealthy building contractor of the Pashtun Kansi tribe, a small but powerful clan with extensive land holdings that was described as perhaps the most prosperous in the province of Baluchistan.

Mr. Kansi, who was born and reared in Quetta, received a master's degree in English literature from Baluchistan University there.

His friends and relatives said he moved to the United States in 1991 after growing restless in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government promised to track down Mr. Kansi and return him to the United States for trial.

Interior Minister Shujat Hussain, who met with a senior U.S. diplomat to discuss the case, said his government had begun a nationwide manhunt and would be assisted beginning next week by a team from the FBI that will travel to Pakistan.

Some U.S. authorities, although they said they had little foundation for their theory, said the proximity of Mr. Kansi's hometown to the Afghan border led them to wonder whether he might have harbored a grudge against the CIA arising from the agency's involvement in the 1980s in smuggling weapons into Afghanistan from Pakistani bases.

Academic specialists on Pakistan, cautioning that they had no direct knowledge of the case, said they were skeptical that the attack might have been some kind of organized retribution.

But they also said that the covert border operations by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence agents during the Afghan war had left hostility among residents of the region. Some who assisted in the gunrunning were angered after the war to find that the the flow of weapons they claimed as their bounty was being cut off.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington said Mr. Kansi applied for political asylum in February 1992 but that his application had not been approved and that he was not a legal resident.

In Fairfax County, Va., police said they were examining a brown Datsun station wagon for clues. They said they think it might be the car in which the gunman fled after the shooting. It was found in Herndon, Va., near CIA headquarters.

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