Kabul: An Afghan warlord backed by US special forces is facing persistent allegations that he launched a two-year spate of violence involving burglary, rape and murder of civilians, desecration of mosques and mutilation of corpses.
Commander Azizullah is on the US military’s payroll as an “Afghan security guard”.
According to the Independent, interviews with religious leaders, tribal elders, villagers, contractors and Western and Afghan officials all pointed to a reign of terror in which they believe that the 31-year-old targeted Pashtun civilians while fighting the Taliban.
The testimony also tallied with several independent reports documenting the allegations against Azizullah, including two reports compiled by UN officials and circulated to NATO personnel last year.
A report entitled ‘Evidence against Azizullah’ stated: “We strongly recommend that this man be removed from his position working in the services of the US military. Numerous complaints have been made to us in recent weeks regarding the behaviour and activities of Commander Azizullah.”
“Elders from a number of districts... have provided independent accounts of Azizullah’s involvement in criminal activities (theft), indiscriminate killings and more sordid activities such as detaining young boys... holding them for several weeks and sexually abusing them.”
“We see significant indications that the unintended consequences of employing someone like Commander Azizullah may be the growing hostility of large parts of the population,” it added.
However, a NATO spokesman said that its own investigation of Azizullah turned up nothing.
“There was a derogatory report via UN channels last summer, but when we tried to research it, there was really little information to substantiate what were essentially claims,” said Lieutenant-Colonel John Dorrian, chief of operations at NATO’s public affairs unit in Kabul.
“As a matter of due diligence, we subsequently tried to backtrack to the origin of the claim, but nothing credible could be found,” he added.