Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans waving flags and chanting crowded into a Kabul cemetery and thronged an ambulance carrying Fahim's flag-covered coffin to the gravesite. Fahim, who died Sunday at 57, was an ethnic Tajik and a leading commander in the Northern Alliance, which battled the Taliban for years and helped the U.S. in ousting the Islamic militant movement.
At a funeral service earlier in the presidential palace, Karzai lauded Fahim — who held the rank of field marshal and had survived several assassination attempts — for always promoting national interest.
"I lost my best friend and my brother," Karzai said, surrounded by tribal leaders and other Afghan dignitaries and foreign diplomats. "He was always with me in making important decisions on international and domestic issues."
Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki and Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed to this report.
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