Reports in this page are by RAWA
Zardad, one of the prominent commanders of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, had control of the main highway of Jalalabad-Kabul at a town called Sarobi in the years of 1992-1996. Zardad is descended from Ahmed Zai tribe of Lugar. Though he is not an educated man, he was an influential commander of the Hezb-e-Islami (Islamic Party) of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar. He was a member of the Executive Council of the party that was fueled with arms and ammunition by Gulbaddin.
Zardad a commander of fundamentalist party of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar one of the most wanted criminals in Afghanistan. He tortured and killed thousands of our innocent people in 1992-96 and even before the fall of puppet regime in Afghanistan.
He and his men used to operate roadblocks and take money from passengers and merchants. If anyone refused, they would face severe torture or killing if necessary. According to eyewitnesses, Zardad had thousands of innocent people killed and tortured, including the rape of hundreds women and girls. He kept beautiful young girls and boys for days. Fear is always present if you journey to Kabul.
Zardad is also reported to have kept a "human dog" called Spai --a half-savage man with long and dirty curled hair and chain around his feet. He was kept in an underground cave and was fed with uncooked beef and animal fats. If any one refused to give him money, Zardad would unleash his Spai and he would attack like a dog, biting and pulling out clumps of flesh.
To illuminate the real picture of Zardad and his looting gangs, some reliable reports are given below:
Shapoor, one of Zardad's men unveiled a crime: "I was in charge of the check post. Zardad told me to get a beautiful girl from any vehicle. I stopped a minibus with a beautiful girl in it and I got her off the bus followed by her male relative. When I entered Zardad's room I found him undressed with three naked girls. "Commander, I found a beautiful girl for you." He ordered me to let her male relative go back and to keep the girl. The man refused to go alone but after receiving severe whippings and biting from Spai, he left the place. The poor girl was kept for 20 days and, after being raped by Zardad and his men, she threw herself in the river."
Ghaffar, a bus driver, remembers the days when Zardad had control of the Kabul-Jalalabad highway: "I was stopped at the check post as usual. Among the passengers were four girls whose father had gotten out at the check post. The girls were separated from their father, and he was told to bring 20 million Afghani if he wanted them to be released. The man could do nothing but bring the money as soon as he could. After two days the man came with money. He got nervous when he saw his daughters being raped by Zardad and his men. The father couldn't bear the humiliation of his daughters and rushed out shouting for help but there was no one to hear his cry except the gunman who shot him in the back and killed him on the spot."
Zardad's brother was his deputy. It has been reported by local eyewitness that he once took off the ear of a passenger named Sulman Khan who had refused to give money. Sulman, a resident of Gul Dam, Kalman of Alingar district in Lughman province now lives in Arandkho, Jalozai.
Eng. Noor-ul-Haq who
was killed by Zardad
Eng Noor-ul-Haq s/o Fazal Mahmood resident of Surkhroad, Nangarhar was a water supply engineer in third Makroryan (Kabul). He was stopped at the Zardad check post in October 1993. Accusing him of being a communist, they killed him right away and kept his dead body in their custody until his family paid for it. After some days, his poor family succeeded in getting the dead body with the help of some elders.
Javid and Hafiz residents of Jalalabad were traveling to Kabul with 50 canes of Ghee. On the way they, were stopped by a Zardad gang and are asked for 20 lacs Afghani. As they didn't have money, Zardad ordered the gang to take the cane instead. The two men innocently begged for their cane back but, as usual, Zardad unleashed his Spai (dog). Spai, who seemed to be very hungry, attacked Jaweed and bit him - the print is still there on his arms. Zardad's father (who had taken a carton of grapes from a truck) ate grapes and encouraged Spai. Jaweed and his partner ran away, leaving their cane behind.
Hajji Sultan, a resident of Khel Lughman, was traveling in his truck of goods when he was stopped by Zardad who asked for 20 million Afghanis. Hajji didn't have that much money with him. Zardad, after finding no money, lost his temper and set Hajji's truck on fire. Hajji Sultan begged for mercy but his goods had been burnt. Hajji Sultan is mentally disordered now.
Zardad's Crimes at the Check Post of Sarobi, Kabul
The Russians had assigned Najib as head of Khad, the intelligence service of Afghanistan government. Throughout his reign, he held the unparalleled record of tortures and murders in Afghanistan. After his collapse Zardad, one of the Hezb-e-Islami commanders of the Ahmad Zai tribe from the Paktia province, established a checking post en route Kabul-Jalalabad in the western area of Sarobi. Yet, the torture was far from over.
Due to the continuation of war in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan, schools have been closed, civil workers were dismissed from government offices, and the Afghanistan army was completely demolished. Many people are unemployed. In order to survive they became traders, often moving from place to place in order to sell their goods. With the meager amount of profit the traders received, they fed their families.
One day, a man was carrying some car batteries to sell in Kabul. When his car reached the junction of Sarobi, Zardad's men stopped it. Commander Zardad's "human dog", a half-savage man who was kept in an underground cave, jumped inside the car and brought down the batteries. The owner of the batteries got out of the car and begged pardon from Zardad to give him back the batteries. Zardad ordered his "dog" to beat the owner with cable. Without wasting any time, the "dog" started beating the trader. After some hard blows, he fell down. A few minutes later, he started apologizing again; "I have taken in profit these batteries from another person. I am very poor and I have no other source to return them to their owner." Again, Zardad ordered his "dog" to beat the man with cable. The man then became unconscious. When he came to, an old man advised, "Forget your batteries and go away, unless you will die under beating."
Another incident occurred in June 1994 when I traveled from Jalalabad towards Kabul. In the car with me were some old men, women, and small boys between the ages of ten and twelve whose families were in Kabul. The citizens of Kabul were banned from carrying food by Hezb-e-Ialami, so the men of the Hezb prevented food to reach Kabul in anyway possible. To feed their families, they brought flour and rice from Jalalabad to Kabul. We reached Sarobi, where Zardad and his "dog" were located. They stopped the car. One of Zardad's men got on the car who was wearing a belt with some nails, pliers, and a knife. He pointed towards a 35Kg sack of flour and said, "Whose flour is this?"
A boy who was not more than twelve said, "This belongs to me." Then, the man pressed the boy's ear with the pliers. The pained shouts and cries of the boy filled the atmosphere. After a few minutes, an old man stood from the backseat and said, "This small kid is very poor, he has no flour at home and his family is hungry. Let him go this time, he will not do it again." The man looked angrily towards the old man. He collected all the flour from the women, took it out of the car, and ordered the driver to move.
Two days after I reached Kabul, I saw one of the women and asked what she did when Zardad took her flour and she left the car to take it back. The woman started crying, "I was there for four or five hours and the debauched men raped me. Although I cried, it was in vain and after a few hours they let me go with my flour."
Another incident occurred on May 13, 1996. Some armed men under the command of Zardad stopped our bus that was traveling from Kabul to Jalalabad at Sarobi. They surrounded the bus and an armed man, who had rosary beads around his neck, entered the bus. After a physical search and taking wristwatches, money, and jewelry from the passengers a Hindu man, who was traveling with his wife and two children, attracted his attention. "Will you give a hundred million Afghani to your brother or should I circumcise you by knife?" The driver, Abdul Qaseem, and two old men succeeded to rescue the man by giving fifty million Afghanis accumulated by the celebration of the circumcision in front of his family and the public. Until obtaining the money, the armed man repeatedly sharpened his knife on the edge of the bus window saying, "I will do it in just one blow". After taking fifty million Afghanis, he placed the knife in its sheath. Then, he left and we were safe.
Sardar Wali (also known as Lalagee) and his brothers have fought Jihad (Holy War) with Zardad for a long time and know his secrets quite well. Wali and his brothers have taken part in Zardad's secret works. This is his personal account of what happened when he was under the command of Zardad.
"In the general bus stand of Pul-e-Mahmood Khan I was appointed by Zardad. There, the passengers would get out of the taxies and place their goods in the buses of Laghman and Ningarhar. My responsibility was to check their bags in order to know what type of people they were, where they came from, what relation they had with Hezb opponents, and what they had with them. Usually I passed whole days there in order to spot those who had large sums of money, jewelry, spare parts or anyone from the Masood area. Immediately, I informed the Naghlo Check Post (Zardad's check post) about the number of vehicle, the man that was our target, and the things he had with him. Also, it was my duty to find out what kind of relationship the passengers had with those that accompanied them to the bus stand of Pul-e-Mahmood Khan and the wealth of their relatives.
From there, I usually found out whether they were old, young, or beautiful. If the girl was desirable, then I informed the men of the Naghlo Check Post with all the qualities she had because inside the vehicle their faces were covered. One day I informed them about a beautiful girl that was seated on the second seat next to the window. During the journey, an old lady exchanged seats with her because of the nausea she got along the way. Both of them had burqas. During the search… the men at the check post started questioning the old woman by asking her the occupation of her husband and brother. The lady told them that her husband had passed away and her son is working in the fruit market of Peshawar. They left the woman to search the other vehicle. After that, I was ordered to notify the colors of burqas as well.
When blood was needed for injured workers, we would call doctors with equipment to fulfill what was needed. They would take the blood of the people passing by and send it to the hospitals of Char Asiab and Spena Shiga. One day an Arab doctor came to take blood and told his medical team to pour out the blood of Shias (a sect in Islam) as it is dirty and not worth circulating in our bodies."
Wali also stated that his other duty was to bring the immigrants of Tajikistan, who were recently attracted to Hezb-e-Islami, to Peshawar for brainwashing and training. To keep them away from any problems and the plan, Wali usually traveled with them. It was a non-stop journey and at the check post of Naghlo they served these immigrants cold drink and fresh fruit. This was the only luxury they were afforded.
Zardad's daily activities include all of the above. He orders his "dog" to beat a trader with cable, his men rape women that are trying to bring food supplies to their family, his men abuse children that are trying to feed their family, and these men threaten circumcision in order to rob people of money. An old companion of his admits that he was ordered to question people on their relation to opponents of Hezb and their wealth, amongst other queries. These torturous acts are still being committed to this day without any consequence.
* * *
Nasrullah, resident of Alisheng, Laghman province says:
"My uncle, who was a poor man, was carrying 5 barrels of fuel from Kabul to Laghman to get some profit. The vehicle they were traveling in was stopped by the armed men of Commander Zardad. Zardad ordered his men to take two barrels as custom duty and allow them to keep the rest, but my uncle begged him to take only one barrel and let them keep the remaining four. Zardad called his "dog" (a chained wild man) and ordered him to spill one barrel of fuel over the owner (my uncle) and take two barrels to the unit, his check post. When the fuel was spilled over my uncle, Zardad asked him: "Are you satisfied now"?
My uncle in a desperate condition said: "Yes sir, I am satisfied".
A few days later when my uncle came back home, he died of a heart attack caused by extreme anger and tension.
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman s/o Aziz-ur-Rehman, resident of Laghman province, whose family is living in Raig Shah Mard Khan and himself is a prisoner in Taliban jail, tells his story of the time as a soldier in one of the units of Zardad near Naghlo check post:
"Regarding new and trading vehicles, we had orders to:
1- Seize all new vehicles that did not yet have license plates
2- Arrest the vehicles belonging to people who were not members of Hezb-e-Islami
3- After arresting the vehicles, "The great Sheikh" (Zardad Khan) should be informed immediately. And full information about the owner of the vehicle should be given to him."
"One day the head of Naghlo check post who worked under the command of Zardad ordered us to stop the brand new car of one of the passers by. After we took the car, I asked the head why he didn't stop the car himself. He replied: 'You are not familiar with these tricks'. After that, when I went to Jalalabad with my father, and got to know the driver of the car who was one of the friends of Malavi Khalis, I found out that they were arrested and released only after severe torture."
Sultan Jan s/o Said Jan, resident of Angoor Bagh, Jalalabad who was previously a Lieutenant in Tank Wireless Unit in the frontier forces, worked for the Hezb-e-Islami under a commander called Nasir. His job was to bring tanks from the Firqa 9 (9th Unit) to Lagham. About some of the time he spent with Zardad, he says:
"When we were attacking Kabul with heavy artillery while fighting against Massoud, Zardad said to me: 'Lieutenant! Be careful about not missing a single bullet. If you see nothing, try to hit the Microyan buildings and the city center as much as you can, so that no one is left alive'."
He added: "One day Pakistani friends were there cutting the tanks into pieces (to sell the iron from the tanks and other military vehicles in Pakistan). I was appointed to help them. All the tanks in the area from Mahi-Par to Tangi were intentionally destroyed and cut into pieces with great skill. Finally I came to know that these cannibals were not Afghan."
Engineer Malang Jan, resident of Char Bagh Safae, Nangarhar province, who was active in Peshawar in National Front of Afghanistan, bought a Toyota car from Heart and wanted to bring it to Jalalabad. On his way he was stopped by the Zardad's men in Nagho check post and his car was snatched.
After Malang Jan went to Zardad's house several times in Kacha Gari Peshawar, he went to Char Asiab to meet Gulbaddin with a recommendation letter from Ishaq Gillani, the head of the National Front of Afghanistan. Gulbaddin wrote a letter to Zardad saying that the car should be returned as soon as possible. Malang came back to Zardad and after a lot of trouble passing through the "dogs", entered his room. The letter was read to Zardad, who took out the keys of the car from his pocket and after playing with them for some time, put them back in his pocket. Laughing comically he said to Malang Jan: "Who the hell is that Gulbaddin, let alone his letter?" He expelled Malang Jan from there. The car was with Zardad for a long time, after which it was sold to another person. When Malang Jan now sees his car in Jalalabad, he stops it and report to the Police Department. When Zardad hears about it, he sends a message to the head of the Department that he shouldn't hand over the car to Malang, and if he does, to remember that it is Zardad who has control over the Kabul-Jalalabad road. The body of Malang's smashed car is still lying in the Police Department and the employees of the Department use it as a toilet.
Zardad killer of well-known intellectuals
A son of Farooq Gharzi has written this piece
Ghulam Farooq Gharzi, a widely known intellectual figure, is among thousands of other victims who have been murdered at hands of Gulbaddin and his henchman Zardad. Graduated in literature from University, Gharzi was a teacher in Kunduz and Kabul Universities. His political career was at it height at the time when the mass uprising movements were at their full swing and students in Kabul and many other cities were deeply engaged in political activities. Gharzi is recalled to have had direct debates with Gulbaddin, Babrak Karmal and Najib during his time at University. He was considered a leader of the pro-democracy movment, which opposed both the puppet regime of Russia and fundamentalists groupings. As a result of his great influence in the democratic movement, he was put in prison by the Karmal regime in 1980. After his release at the end of Najib government, he was appointed by the Red Cross as an officer in Salib Ahmer Hospital. Soon after his appointment he was force to leave his job due his differences with the ministry of education. He went to Jalalabad and joined a Norwegian aid agency, the Akbar Committee; he also had his own clinic in Jalalabad.
The fundamentalists' parties' perceived Farooq Gharzi presence as a danger, therefore they were conspiring to put him to death. Zardad finally did this. The report below is not prepared by any media group nor have people narrated it but it has been quoted from two eyewitness- his sons. The two brothers and their mother were incredibly delighted by the news that the BBC has questioned Zardad.
was killed by Zardad
"On 22nd June 1994, on the way back from Kabul, we all stopped at a spring near Surubi. Off all sudden a plush Datsun pulled up near us, Zardad, his brother and his deputy Haji Zabia-ullah (the one who was at same cell with my father while they were in the prison) got out and after greeting my father drove off. After traveling one mile further, some armed men with covered faces stopped our car near Surkhakan. They threatened my father to go with them but allowed the rest of us to go. On reaching Jalalabad, my brother and I made our way back to Surkhakan and went out determined to find the whereabouts of our father. We pleaded with every commander if they could tell us about our father yet each of them shrugged us off. Finally, through the letter of Haji Zaib-ullah to Mustan, one of commanders of Gulbaddin, we discovered that Zardad had planned the whole drama at the order of Gulbaddin. We asked Nasser, the influential commander of Gulbaddin to exert pressure on Zardad to release my father. Nasser wrote to Zardad but Zardad ignore the letter. At the same time the Norwegian committee warned Commander Fazal-ul-Haq who was at time the chief-in-commander of Hezb-Islami to release Ghgarzi otherwise they would cease their work in Afghanistan. He promised to do something about it but when found out that Zardad was involved in the case; he knew it was beyond his control. Finally some hope was found. A former Mayor had been released from the prison of Hezb-e-Islami in Shina. He told me that some day's back an unknown man had been brought into a special cell. He was concerned that the unknown man might be his brother; therefore he had taken out a brick from the wall of the cell and looked at the man. The mayor told me that the man was chained and many injuries were apparent on his face showing he might have been tortured very severely. He told me that Gulbaddin and Zardad were often visiting him in the cell. When he finished his story about my father I showed him the photo of my father, he immediately said "Yes that was the man". My brother and I then tried to give money to the different commanders if they could do something about, and release our father. Each commander demanded over 30 million Afghani; this amount was too high for us. We sold almost our whole property and by giving a big amount of money to the prison guards we were finally allowed to visit the prison. However, our father was not there; we asked everybody in the prison about our father but no one knew his whereabouts. At last, I was told by a man in the prison that my father had been shot. He said that Haji-Zabi had shot 90 bullets into my father in the presence of Gulbaddin and Zardad.
This is the story of my father. I want you, the organization that voices human rights atrocities to unveil the crimes committed by Zarad and his boss, Gulbaddin. I want the world community to put on trial Zardad and many other commanders who misused their power and killed thousands of innocent people"
POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF ZARDAD
Zardad was born in Hesark, a very backward and undeveloped village adjacent to Pakistan border. His father was among the elders of the village and it was the policy of Pakistan government at that time to keep good relations with the heads of the villages.
Zardad was given the nickname of "Zardoray" and "Zarak" and had an unusual personality.
With the beginning of the Soviet occupation, Zardad, on the order of foreign masters of his father, was appointed for disturbing the border areas by creating a band of thieves and robbers. After migrating to Pakistan, his family lived in "Kacha Gari" camp in Peshawar. All the members of the family were under the suspected by everyone the camp for robbery, child kidnapping and other unlikely actions.
Afterwards, Zardad was introduced to Gulbaddin and appointed to one of the important branches of his party. The more Gulbaddin showed willingness and enthusiasm to giving money to Zardad, the more Zardad was ready to accept any command given to him.
Zardad, who had been totally unknown, became famous thanks to his robbery, killing, kidnappings, and close friendship and collaboration with Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-e-Islami. As BBC radio reported about his crimes, everyone came to know him and in a flash he became famous (read infamous!).
At the time when Zardad's crimes were at their peak, he was called "The great" and "Shiekh Sahib" among his family and closed ones, while the people called him "Feroun" (Pharaoh) and "Shadad".
Before the unity of Rabbani-Gulbuddin, one of the men of Zardad explained his grief as follows:
When the Taliban were about to take over, the mercilessness and wildness of Zardad reached their peak. He robbed even more travelers and teased, arrested and tortured as many people as he could. There are two rumors regarding the reason for this:
1- Some people say that Zardad was told that he should not resist, and therefore he wanted to make use of this opportunity and earn as much as he could.
2- Others are of the opinion that, similar to Fazl-e-Haq Mujahid, Haji Zaman etc, Zardad was ordered to tease, terrorize and loot people as much as possible in order to provide an opportunity for the Taliban.
During his reign, Zardad provided a part of the military supplies of Hezb-e-Islami through his "highway custom duty". He sent his prisoners to Charh Asiab, the center of Hezb-e-Islami. He sent the intellectuals to Chahr Asiab after the process of their political recognition, where they were hanged to death. Zardad sent gifts such as grapes and apples from Kohdaman (a place famous for its grapes and apples), lambs from Bameeyan, etc. to the leader of Hezb-e-Islami. During the bad times, Zardad along with his armed "dogs" were appointed as the bodyguards of Gulbaddin. Therefore, the responsibility of all the crimes committed by Zardad do not only depend upon Zardad himself and his armed men.
Zardad was a brick of the Hezb-e-Islami, and it is this party and its leader Gulbaddin Hekmatyar who should be answerable to all his crimes and brutalities.
Click on the photo to see its larger one and caption.
This check post in Sarobi district of Kabul was of a brutal commander of Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar called Zardad who is now living in the UK. During years 1992-96 he was busy robbing and torturing people who were passing Kabul-Jalalabad highway. Commander Zardad had kept a "human dog" - a half-savage man who was kept here in an underground cave.
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