Afghan Biographies

NDS Department 124

Name NDS Department 124
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Afghan Detention Facility in Kabul
History and Biodata

1. Former Heads of Directorate 124, :
Dr. Zia, Director, (20110900)
Gen. Mohammad Halim (20110900)


National Directorate of Security Department 124 Directorate 124
(In earlier times, Department or Riasat-e 124 was known as Riasat-e 90 and before that Riasat-e 5.) NDS Counter-Terrorism Department 124 is a detention facility across the street from U.S. Military Headquarters in Kabul. The facility is for up to 40 "terrorism suspects". Allegedly so much torture took place inside, one detainee told the United Nations, that it has earned another name: “People call it Hell.”

But long before the world body publicly revealed “systematic torture” in Afghan intelligence agency detention centers, top officials from the State Department, the CIA and the U.S. military received multiple warnings about abuses at Department 124 and other Afghan facilities, according to Afghan and Western officials with knowledge of the situation.

U.S. Special Operations troops delivered detainees to Department 124. CIA officials regularly visited the facility, which was rebuilt last year with American money, to interrogate high-level Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects, according to Afghan and Western officials familiar with the site. Afghan intelligence officials said Americans never participated in the torture but should have known about it.

When the United Nations on Aug. 30, 2011 brought allegations of widespread detainee abuse to Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. military commander here, he took swift action ahead of the public release of the findings. Coalition troops stopped transferring detainees to Department 124 and 15 other police and intelligence agency prisons. They also hastily began a program to monitor those facilities and conduct human rights classes for interrogators.

But the prospect that U.S. officials failed to act on prior warnings raises questions about their compliance with a law, known as the Leahy Amendment, that prohibits the United States from funding units of foreign security forces when there is credible evidence that they have committed human rights abuses.

Even by the standards of Afghanistan’s deeply troubled justice system, Department 124 stood out. With chilling detail, the United Nations recounted detainees’ stories of interrogators hanging them by their hands for hours, beating them with metal pipes, shocking them with electricity and twisting their genitals until they passed out.

Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP) with the Tor Jail (black Prison) had become a joint facility, with NDS Department 124 (Counter-Terrorism) and the US military conducting joint interrogations before transferring detainees to the DFIP. There is said to be evidence that the US military was still keeping detainees at Tor Jail in human rights violation conditions for up to three weeks for interrogation before handing them over to the DFIP. Tor Jail was never the only ‘screening’ facility used by the US military. It used others on various forward operating bases, including in Kandahar and Khost.

Open Societies reported the following conditions in Tor Jail in 2010:
• Exposure to excessive cold
• Exposure to excessive light
• Inappropriate and inadequate food
• Inadequate bedding and blanketing
• Disorientation and lack of natural light
• Sleep deprivation due to an accumulation of circumstances
• Denial of religious duties
• Lack of physical exercise
• Nudity upon arrival
• Detrimental impact from an accumulation of confinement conditions
• Facility rules and relevant Geneva Conventions rules/rights not posted
• Lack of transparency and denial of International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees.
It also reported that Tor Jail was being used by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and Defense Intelligence Agency agents from the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center: US forces were then at the height of its capture or kill campaign against the Taleban.


Last Modified 2015-02-26
Established 2011-11-01