The Nemesis List: Abdul Raziq

One of America's presumed drug lord allies may also be a mass murderer.

So long as Abdul Raziq is in command, the coffin business will be booming in Kandahar. (Photo: Ahmad Nadeem/Reuters)

Sep 26, 2011
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Subject: Afghan Brigadier General Abdul Raziq.

Occupation: Acting Chief of Police in Kandahar Province.

Crime: Torture, beatings and corruption are assumed, drug running, kidnapping and mass murder are suspected.

For us, trying to see the negative doesn’t really get us anywhere.

Experience: Although only 33 years old, Raziq commands a militia of several thousand fighters. His power base includes key drug-smuggling routes along the border with Pakistan.

Effectiveness of Raziq’s Policing: Raziq was appointed acting police chief on May 29, 2011. Kandahar City mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamidi was killed in a suicide blast July 27. Two weeks earlier, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council and a half brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, was shot and killed within his fortified Kandahar City home.

Collaborators: The power of Raziq and his men has been fortified by millions of dollars’ worth of equipment from the United States and training from U.S. Special Forces teams and two private American military contractors—DynCorp and Xe, formerly Blackwater.

Most Despicable Moment: According to tribal elders, human-rights workers, police officers and government officials, as well as information and photos from a suppressed police investigation uncovered by the Atlantic, in March 2006, Raziq’s underlings lured presumed drug smuggler Shin Noorzai and 15 companions to a party house in Kabul. The men were drugged, bound and delivered 500 kilometers south to Raziq, in Kandahar province. The captives, hands tied, were massacred at close range with automatic weapons. Raziq reported to the Associated Press that 15 Taliban fighters crossing over from Pakistan, led by “Taliban commander Mullah Shin,” had been intercepted and defeated in a gun battle. Raziq and Shin’s respective tribes had been feuding over smuggling routes.

Extenuating Circumstance: Raziq told the Atlantic, “Those who have been killed, they were terrorists.”

American Blowback: The Leahy Amendment, a 1997 U.S. law, forbids State Department or Defense Department assistance to foreign military units that have committed human-rights violations.

America’s Raziq Rationalization:  “For us,” Ben Moeling, America’s director of Kandahar provincial reconstruction, told the Atlantic’s Matthieu Akins, “trying to see the negative doesn’t really get us anywhere.”

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