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Afghan President’s Cousin Defects To Mujahedeen

November 29, 1988

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Mohammad Gul, self-described former secret police officer and cousin of Afghan President Najib, said today he fled Afghanistan to join anti-governmen t Moslem guerrillas.

He denounced Najib as ″a Russian puppet″ and said Najib’s mother once tried to escape from Kabul, only to be captured, chained and struck by the president himself.

″I witnessed myself that he started slapping his mother ...

″Since Najib is not sincere to his own mother, how can he be sincere to the nation?″ asked Mohammad Gul. He said Najib’s mother, Fahima, now was under virtual house arrest.

The mustachioed 27-year-old said he used family connections and his status in KHAD, the Afghan version of the Soviet KGB, to forge papers and bribe his way out of Afghanistan.

Mohammad Gul, who like former KHAD chief Najib does not use a family surname, spoke at a news conference organized by the New Delhi office of Hezb- i-Islami. The Pakistan-based group is one of seven factions fighting Najib’s forces and their Soviet military backers in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Gul said he has been granted refugee status in India by the New Delhi office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. However, a U.N. official said his application, submitted about a month ago, still was pending.

The escapee said he and his wife left Kabul on Oct. 28 and flew to New Delhi, where they were met by guerrilla representatives.

″My plan is to actively join the mujahedeen (guerrillas)... I would like to go back to Afghanistan and fight Russians,″ said Mohammad Gul.

He is the second close relative of Najib to defect to the guerrillas in less than five months. Last summer Najib’s brother Siddiqullah entered Pakistan with the guerrillas and accused Najib of arranging the murder of their father. Siddiqullah offered no proof. He later went to the United States.

Mohammad Gul, who spoke in Pushtu through a guerrilla interpreter, said at least 10 of Najib’s close relatives have sought refuge outside Afghanistan.

He said he was doubly related to Najib through the intermarriages common in Islamic societies. ″My mother and Najib’s mother are sisters, and my father and Najib’s father are brothers,″ he said.

Mohammad Gul said his brother Noorullah, a deputy minister of tribal affairs, and Najib forced him to go to Moscow in 1987 for a six-month secret police training course. Afterwar he returned to Kabul and soon became a brigadier in KHAD.

″You can become a general in a week,″ he smiled when asked about his meteoric rise.

He said he never witnessed any of the tortures KHAD has been accused of by the guerrillas and Kabul residents. His KHAD assignment, said, was an undercover role reporting on Suleiman Layeq, Afghanistan’s minister of tribal affairs and a longtime member of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

He echoed guerrilla assertions that Najib is doomed.

″The Kremlin leaders are trying to bring another person who could replace Najib, a non-party person. Now the Russians are trying to save their interests and go back,″ he said.

Under a U.N.-sponsored accord signed last April, the Soviets have withdrawn half their 115,000 soldiers from Afghanistan and are supposed to withdraw the rest by Feb. 15.

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