Unearthed Corpse of Afghan Torture Victim Ignites Controversy over American Involvement

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Authorities in Afghanistan are seeking an Afghan-American who worked for the U.S. military and may have participated in the harsh interrogations of numerous local residents who later turned up dead.


Zakaria Kandahari, identified as the chief interpreter for an American Army Special Forces A Team stationed in Wardak Province, is wanted in connection with the deaths of 17 Afghans. Afghan officials want to arrest Kandahari on murder, torture and abuse of prisoner charges, and they have accused the American military of shielding him from capture.


Sayid Mohammad, an Afghan man who went missing in November, was found dead last month—with his feet cut off—outside the base where the Special Forces were stationed until March. Local authorities claim to have a video showing Kandahari torturing Mohammad before his corpse was unearthed, tucked inside a military-style black body bag.


They also suspect Kandahari and the U.S. military of being involved in the deaths of at least 16 others Afghans. Villagers digging around the U.S. base found four more bodies last week, bringing to 14 the number that have been recovered.


The American military denies Kandahari is an American citizen and have insisted they are not hiding him.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Torture Victim’s Body Is Found Near U.S. Base, Afghans Say (by Rod Nordland, New York Times)

Afghans Say an American Tortured Civilians (by Rod Nordland, New York Times)

Brother’s Search Comes to a Grim End in Afghanistan (by Sangar Rahimi and Rod Nordland, New York Times)


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