Daily Times, September 11, 2012

Afghanistan: the appointment of war criminals on key posts

By Musa Khan Jalalzai

“Afghanistan will remain a fragile, unstable and corrupt state long after British troops have departed,” former British ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-2012) Sir William Patey told BBC on September 1, 2012.

In August 2012, the nomination of war criminals and corrupt officials for key posts in Afghanistan enraged the whole population. Every section of society, government officials, politicians and parliamentarians expressed deep concern on the decision of the president. The story became more interesting after President Karzai’s nomination of the warlord Maulana Bismillah Khan Muhammadi as the defence minister when the latter had already failed to maintain law and order as interior minister. President Karzai is in trouble and does not know what to do and how to manage the affairs of the state, but it is an irrefutable fact that he is playing a great joke on his nation. He might be under pressure from the international community or ethnic and religious groups who control the key posts in his crumbling government, but one thing is clear that he and his international partners have failed to bring stability to Afghanistan. The strategy of changing faces or offices is no more effective as Afghans have already experienced the weak security approach of the Karzai regime and international community to the Taliban insurgency during the last 10 years.

On August 29, 2012, President Karzai removed the intelligence chief, Rahmatullah Nabil, and said he wanted to limit the term of an intelligence chief to two years. However, the case is different here. Nabil with his non-professional conduct and political inclinations had failed to counter the Taliban insurgency and their infiltration into the rank and file of the police and Afghan National Army. There are reports that President Karzai was unhappy with his politicised approach to intelligence work. Nabil’s removal from office is a clear proof of his non-professional methods of information gathering and processing. The main reason behind his removal was his inability to prevent the Taliban attack on the Afghan peace council in the capital last year.

The president accused him of power abuse. Like his predecessor, Nabil’s tactics of investigation against detainees included electric shocks, threats of rape, beatings, extrajudicial killings, torture, humiliation, prolonged pre-trial detention, discrimination against ethnic opponents and sexual abuse of children. He is responsible for the killings of innocent Afghans during his brutal investigation tactics in Khost and other secret prisons. As we all understand, security is worsening in the country. As each day passes, the country moves closer to an unending civil war. Insurgent attacks, IEDs, suicide attacks, target killings, drug trafficking and corruption has triggered concern among all players in Afghanistan.

Asadullah Khalid accused of torturing Afghans
McClatchy Newspapers, Aug. 31, 2012: In April 2010 the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said suspicions had been widespread during Khalid’s tenure in Kandahar that “the feared governor kept a private dungeon for prisoners under his palace.” Also in April 2010, Canada’s newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted a former official who’d served under Khalid at the governor’s palace in Kandahar as saying he’d seen a prisoner in a guard room hanging from the ceiling “trussed like a chicken.” The Globe and Mail quoted another man as saying he was among those detained at the palace and “endured weeks of beatings supervised by the governor himself.” (Photo: James McCarten/The Canadian Press)

With the country moving towards a further collapse, no solution has been sought on either government or international forums. The Afghan parliament had no other option than to remove both interior and defence ministers for their non-professional methods of governance. Former intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil was born in 1968 in Wardak province. He received his education in Peshawar as an Afghan refugee and worked with various NGOs. As an engineer by profession, Nabil had no specific knowledge of intelligence collection and processing. He was a newly recruited and less educated Afghan to the world of modern technological intelligence. He never tried to acquire know how about intelligence work and intelligence surveillance. President Karzai replaced him with a notorious war criminal, Assadullah Khalid, known for the torture and killings of innocent men and women in southern Afghanistan. Assadullah Khalid owns a criminal militia, known as Brigade 888, and secret prisons.

Assadullah Khalid and his rogue Brigade 888 stand accused of human rights abuses, including rape and torture, during his governorship. Canada supported the Brigade 888 and considered it a trusted ally protecting Canadian outposts in Kandahar. The military and financial support of the Canadian government encouraged the criminal Brigade 888 to torture, rape and murder civilians in Kandahar. Canadians who knew said they witnessed no abuse by the Brigade 888. Nevertheless, common Afghans ask why the Canadian army was abetting the crimes of the Brigade 888. A Canadian newspaper, The Globe, reported that the Canadian soldiers “lived beside” Brigade 888 personnel in the governor’s palace in Kandahar, and “helped train Afghans, who routinely committed torture.”

In 2008, Khalid was removed from Kandahar and appointed as the minister of frontier and tribal areas. During Khalid’s brutal tenure in Kandahar, from 2005 to 2008, the palace became a microcosm of Canada’s moral dilemma. Another heartrending story of the Canadian army relates to the use of Brigade 888 against the civilian population. The war criminal, Assadullah Khalid, is a known human rights violator. He ran a private detention facility for torturing detainees, but Canada never repudiated him or reported his crimes to the ISAF command.

Haji Din Mohammad
Haji Din Mohammad. (Photo: EVI)

On one occasion, a prisoner handed over to Brigade 888 by the Canadian forces was severely tortured, abused and humiliated. Interestingly, Canadian Major-General David Fraser spoke in favour of the governor. Canadians who served in Kandahar are not willing to say a single word about their involvement with Brigade 888. Assadullah Khalid was born in the Ghazni province in 1969. He purchased a Bachelors degree from Kabul University in 2001. According to Kabul press reports, Khalid is involved in widespread misuse and abuse of government funds.

The nomination of fourth most corrupt and illiterate Mullah Din Muhammad as minister of frontiers affairs received countrywide condemnation. After the US intervention in Afghanistan, the warlord Din Muhammad was appointed as the governor of Jalalabad and in 2009 he became the governor of Kabul. President Karzai brought back his personal friend, another war criminal, Haji Din Muhammad, to the political race. Haji Din Muhammad was born in Jalalabad. His father, Amanullah Khan Jabbar Khel, worked in various posts in the Afghan government. As the next election approaches, President Karzai is trying to keep warlords happy because he wants to be re-elected as the president of his failed ‘narco’ state.

The writer is the author of Policing in Multicultural Britain, can be reached at zai.musakhan222@gmail.com

Originally published on Sep. 8, 2012

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