The man nominated by Afghanistani President Hamid Karzai to be the new head of Afghan intelligence allegedly participated in drug trafficking and torture, CNN reports. Citing testimony given by a Canadian diplomat, the story published September 4 by CNN recounts Asadullah Khalid’s alleged history of “heavy handed tactics” and facilitation of the drug trade. Karzai’s nomination of Khalid, currently the minister of border and tribal affairs, to lead the National Directorate Security (NSD) has stirred controversy in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports, “Ahead of his nomination by Karzai late Sunday, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the president not to appoint Khalid, accusing him of rights abuses and graft.
“Numerous and credible reports allege that Asadullah Khalid, while governor of Kandahar province and in other posts, commanded forces that committed grave human rights violations,” HRW said in a release quoted in the AFP story.
Richard Colvin is the former Canadian deputy ambassador to Afghanistan and the man identified by CNN as the source of most of the worrisome revelations about Khalid’s past. Colvin observed Khalid during the latter’s term as governor of the Kandahar province form 2005 to 2008.
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Photos: (Left) Hamid Karzai at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, 2009; (right) Asadullah Khalid in front of Rahman Baba High School in Kabul in 2011