Published on May 03, 2010
Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Shrouded in white, the spy’s bullet-riddled body was buried Sunday, and with it clues to a cloak-and-dagger mystery gripping Pakistan.
The funeral was for Khalid Khawaja, 58, a former Pakistani intelligence agent who journeyed last month to the militant-controlled borderlands of North Waziristan, only to be killed by a little-known insurgent group that accused him of working for the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart.
That is where this whodunit becomes more of a why-done-it. Khawaja placed himself solidly in the anti-American, pro-Taliban camp. So did his traveling companion, a fellow ex-spy and U.S- trained Taliban architect with the nom de guerre Colonel Imam.
“How could the mujaheddin kill their supporter?” asked Mohammed Zahid, 45, an engineer who was among a modest crowd standing under a baking mid-morning sun at the funeral.
The answer, according to emerging clues and security analysts, is that North Waziristan, once a hub of Taliban fighters with links to Pakistan’s military, has evolved into a stewpot of militant groups, each with different loyalties. Old Taliban ties may have meant little to the Asian Tigers, the group that said it killed Khawaja and is thought to be a Punjab-rooted organization battling the Pakistani state.