Execution Of Pakistani Killer Prompts US Missions To Close

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

(Editor's note: Updates to reflect Kasi's execution.)

Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - U.S. diplomatic missions in Pakistan were closed Friday, following the execution in Virginia Thursday night of Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani who killed two CIA employees almost ten years ago.

The State Department earlier warned of the possibility of retaliatory attacks against U.S. citizens or interests abroad, and the Embassy in Islamabad specifically urged those in Pakistan to "exercise maximum caution and take prudent measures."

Kasi (also known as Kansi) died by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center at 9:07 p.m. EST.

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was petitioned by the condemned man's mother and the Pakistani government, but on Thursday afternoon he said there would be no clemency.

"Mr. Kasi has admitted to the crimes for which he was convicted and shown absolutely no remorse for his actions," his office said in a statement.

"After a thorough review of Mr. Kasi's petition for clemency and the judicial opinions regarding this case, I have concluded that the death penalty is appropriate in this instance. I will not intervene."

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal.

In Kasi's hometown of Quetta, near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, more than 100 supporters and members of his tribe protested the imminent execution, burning U.S. flags and calling Kasi a hero, saying the double murder was a reaction to "what was happening to Muslims in Chechnya and Palestine."

Armed with an AK47, Kasi shot dead CIA agent Frank Darling and analyst Lansing Bennett, as they sat in a car at a traffic light outside the agency's headquarters in McLean, Va., in January 1993. Three other people were badly hurt in the unprovoked rush-hour shooting.

He fled to Pakistan the following day, but was captured there by FBI agents in 1997, following a 29-month manhunt. He confessed to the crimes, saying he was avenging U.S. policies that hurt Muslims.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said Islamabad's petition to the governor was a reversal of its earlier position that it would not interfere in the U.S. judicial process.

It said "growing resentment at home" over the affair could have prompted the about-turn.

Recent parliamentary elections in Pakistan saw considerable gains for Islamists supportive of terrorist networks and opposed to the U.S., and have left President Pervez Musharraf on the defensive.

In its warning, the State Department said retaliatory attacks could target "facilities where Americans or possibly other foreigners are generally known to congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches."

With security in the U.S. tightened since last year's Sept. 11 attacks, targets abroad had become more attractive for terrorists, it said.

Americans and other Westerners have been killed in terror attacks this year in various parts of the world, including Pakistan, India, the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.

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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow