An Afghan interpreter arrested on suspicion of torturing and murdering civilians has accused US Special Forces of ordering the atrocities, but denied personal responsibility.
Six weeks ago, Afghan authorities detained Zakeria Kandahari, a
translator who says he worked for US Special Forces for the past
nine years. Police claim Kandahari took part in the torture and
murder of Afghan civilians in Wardak Province. At least nine
corpses have been recovered in the region, one belonging to Sayid
Mohammed, a local resident who was last seen being taken into US
custody and whose body was found mutilated and footless.
Mohammed’s corpse was found in close proximity to the Nerk
Special Forces base in May.
In documents obtained by Reuters, Afghan investigators say that a
cell phone video shows Kandahari beating Mohammed, but the
detainee suggested that US Special Forces were responsible for
what happened next.
In the document summarizing an interrogation, Kandahari
identified three soldiers of the US Special Forces, which he
referred to as “Dave, chief of the operations, Hagen and
Chris.” He alleged that all three men are fluent in Dari and
Pashto and linked them to the killings. Kandahari admitted
beating one of the deceased victims, but claims no role in the
“I also kicked him several times while I was taking him to the
base,” Kandahari told interrogators. “I handed him over to
Mr. Dave and Mr. Hagen, but later I saw his body in a black body
Wardak residents have long complained that US Special Forces had
been secretly abducting local men and boys and subjecting them to
interrogation, torture and sometimes death. The Karzai government
has never directly accused US forces of doing this, but ordered
them to leave Wardak Province in February. The US-led military
coalition in Afghanistan has denied involvement in the torture or
disappearances, but Kandahari’s interrogation has revealed new
details that may shed further light on the mystery.
“Kandahari rejects all allegations leveled to him and links
the three soldiers to the killings,” the interview document
said. The former translator claims he was low ranking and had no
access to the Special Forces’ interrogation rooms.
A senior spokesman for the US Special Forces on
Tuesday reaffirmed to Reuters that the US is not
responsible for the civilian deaths, and claims that the military
already investigated the matter.
“U.S. forces conducted several investigations which determined
there was no credible evidence to substantiate misconduct by ISAF
or U.S. forces,” the spokesperson said. “Having said that,
ISAF takes all allegations of detainee abuse seriously and we
will continue to cooperate with the Afghan government on this
But tensions regarding the matter remain high, and the
government’s decision to bar US troops from Wardak means Taliban
insurgents have the potential to operate in the region, which is
close to the capital.
Kandahari fled the base in January after President Hamid Karzai
ordered his arrest. Maj. Gen. Manan Farahi, head of
intelligence for the Afghan Defense Ministry, told reporters last
week that the abuses against Wardak residents continued after
Kandahari fled, suggesting that US troops were behind the torture
“Everybody knows and you should know that Zakaria Kandahari
and these people with him were there with the Americans and were
working for the Americans,” Farahi said in early July.
“Whether they killed people on their own or were directed by
the Americans to kill people, it needs extensive investigation.
Now that Mr. Kandahari is in custody most of these things will
Republished with permission from: RT