Torture

Afghan Government Claims Video Evidence of Special Forces Engaged in Torture

Not us, says the U.S. military

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Afghan officials say they've got video of a man overseeing the torture of Afghan civilians. Exactly who ordered the man to torture is a matter of fierce dispute — and also helps explain this year's erosion of trust between Washington and Kabul.

Allegedly, there's a videotape in Afghan government hands showing a man named Zakaria Kandahari presiding over the torture of an Afghan civilian who, along with 15 others, recently disappeared from Wardak Province. According to the New York Times, Kandahari, an American citizen, is "seen conducting" the torture session and "supervising" others.

But there is great disagreement over who Kandahari actually is. The Afghans say that Kandahari leads a U.S. Army Special Forces unit recently kicked out of Wardak over allegations of torture, disappearances and executions. The U.S. military command says unequivocally that Kandhari was an interpreter for the unit, not a leader; that he's not actually an American; and that the unit was not involved in any torture.