The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

August 31, 2012

Afghan minister accused of abuses to become new intelligence chief

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan Cabinet minister dogged by torture allegations is slated to become the new chief of Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security.

The appointment of Asadullah Khalid, the minister of border and tribal affairs, will be announced within days by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said a man who knows Khalid. A former senior government official who is close to Karzai told McClatchy Newspapers that “Khalid’s appointment has been confirmed.”

Both men spoke only on the condition of anonymity, as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Khalid was the governor of the restive southern province of Kandahar, where troops from Canada were based, from 2005 to 2008. He had a notorious reputation among many Kandaharis, who say he abducted and tortured personal and political opponents, but he has consistently denied any involvement in such activity.

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.” The CBC quoted top-level Canadian government documents that showed Canadian authorities had known in spring 2007 about claims of serious human rights abuses by Khalid.

“Allegations of human rights abuses by the governor are numerous and consistent,” said one document from spring 2007. “According to multiple sources, including the U.K. embassy, the private detention centre is located under the governor’s guest house.”

Also in April 2010, Canada’s newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted a former official who had served under Khalid at the governor’s palace in Kandahar as saying he had 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.”

Khalid was removed a few months later, but he has remained a powerful figure in Afghanistan.

If he’s confirmed as Karzai’s choice for National Directorate of Security director, and he survives a parliamentary vote of confidence, his appointment probably will spark concern among human rights groups in Afghanistan and abroad. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations have accused the National Directorate of Security of torturing detainees.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan last October reported “compelling” evidence that 125 detainees — 46 percent of 273 detainees it interviewed who had been in National Directorate of Security detention — had experienced torture. A number of countries in the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, including Britain and New Zealand, have ordered their soldiers not to transfer detainees to some National Directorate of Security departments for fear of complicity in torture.

The former senior Afghan government official who is close to Karzai told McClatchy Newspapers that the president’s choice of Khalid was a mistake. He suggested that Western nations wouldn’t support the decision and that it might not be welcomed by the United States, which had funded and worked closely with the National Directorate of Security.

“I am not sure that the Americans will maintain their support for the NDS under Khalid,” the former official said. “He has many shortcomings, including that he is brutal.”

Others have suggested that pressure from the United States to urgently tackle the Taliban-led insurgency is precisely the reason Karzai has selected Khalid.

A writer at the Kabul Politics blog claimed that Karzai had fired the former National Directorate of Security director, Rahmatullah Nabil, because of U.S. anger over the directorate’s apparent failure to stem the increasing number of “green on blue” attacks — in which Afghan security personnel turn their weapons on their coalition counterparts — and that the United States promoted Khalid as a suitable replacement.

However, the former senior government official close to Karzai said Khalid and one of Karzai’s brothers, Abdul Qayum, had been involved in secret talks with Saudi Arabia in an effort to involve the Saudis in peace negotiations with the Taliban. He said that appointing Khalid to the directorate job “is just another step in this direction.”

He said Karzai was well aware of Khalid’s background and the numerous allegations of criminality, and that he would have appointed Khalid thinking that the advantages of doing so outweighed the disadvantages.

“The president must have done his calculations,” the former official said.

Text Only
Nation & World
  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 18, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • Anita Hill.jpg Anita Hill reflects on her fateful testimony, 23 years later

    Back in 1993, I rounded a corner of a Laguna Beach, Calif., grocery store and walked straight into Anita Hill.
    We both stopped in our tracks. She looked slightly panicked, like someone had turned on a light in a room, and all she wanted was the door.
    It took a moment to register that this was the woman who, just two years before, calmly testified before a Senate committee about the sexual harassment she endured while working for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas  at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of all places.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • jc_Erick Wyatt.JPG Norman man takes on challenge to unseat Inhofe

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of candidate profiles leading up to the 2014 Oklahoma elections.

    Erick Wyatt is running for U.S. Senate to be a strong voice of the people, he said. More than anything, Wyatt said he is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe for the sake of his children.
    The Norman Republican vows to represent the people’s interests instead of the interests of powerful political groups, Wyatt said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140414_MALAYSIA_Bluefin.jpg In new phase to find Flight 370, search robot will enter ocean

    The pings have sputtered out in the multinational search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, forcing search crews to deploy an underwater robot to find a plane that’s eluded human efforts.
    In a last-ditch effort to find the Boeing 777 and its black box flight recorders, a U.S. Navy submersible vehicle will be used to scan an area in the southern Indian Ocean for debris.
    “We haven’t had a single detection in six days, so I guess it’s time to go underwater,” Angus Houston, who heads Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center, told a news conference in that country’s western city of Perth on Monday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strong earthquake rattles Logan County

    Ray Dorwart, owner of Guthrie’s Dorwart Custom Boots, 117 S. Second, said he was in his store working on a sewing machine when he felt the structure shake Monday morning.
    Dorwart was on the phone with an out-of-state friend when he heard some tools rattle and felt the wood floor vibrate.

    April 7, 2014