Kabul, March 11 (IANS) The state funeral service for Afghanistan’s first vice president Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died Sunday, was held amid tight security in the Presidential Palace here Tuesday.
The funeral prayers were held inside the palace after Fahim’s body was shifted there following a military ceremony held in the defence ministry compound, Xinhua reported.
Afghanistan’s first vice president died Sunday morning at the age of 56 after protracted illness .
In addition to participation of hundreds of Afghan mourners, foreign dignitaries and Kabul-based diplomats attended the ceremony and paid homage to late Fahim.
Speaking on the occasion, President Hamid Karzai praised the services of late Fahim and described his death as a great loss to the nation and expressed sympathy with his family and the people of Afghanistan.
Fahim, an ethnic Tajik from eastern Panjshir province, had played a significant role over the past four decades in the history of Afghanistan.
The government of Afghanistan announced a three-day national mourning from Monday during which the national flag would fly at half-mast at home and Afghanistan diplomatic missions abroad.
A close aide to late Ahmad Shah Masoud, the Afghan national hero, Fahim had fought against the invading forces of the former Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989 and later against the then Moscow-backed regime of Najibullah until its collapse in 1992 and later against the Taliban regime until it was toppled by the US-led military coalition campaign in late 2001.
Fahim had served in different capacities, including defence minister and vice president, over the past 13 years in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Fahim’s body is being prepared to be laid to rest at the top of Dehkepak hill in northern Kabul.