Afghan Biographies

Kandahari, Zakaria

Name Kandahari, Zakaria
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1980
Function/Grade Paramilitary Person
History and Biodata

3. Biodata:
According to the New York Times, Kandahari, an American citizen, is “seen conducting” the torture session and “supervising” others. Kandahari is of Afghan descent, they say, but he was born and raised in the United States. 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.

Kandahari’s story is as wild as it is disputed. The A-Team, a detachment of 12 soldiers, moved to Nerkh from Kandahar, onto a base formerly used by Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Along with other soldiers in the unit, Kandahari wore a long beard and was seen riding “motorized four-wheeled bikes on hunts for insurgents.” When the Afghans came to arrest Kandahari on murder and torture charges, Kandahari — apparently in his late 20s or early 30s with a big tattoo of a green sword on his upper arm — Kandahari split. Afghans thought the U.S. was protecting Kandahari; the U.S. denies it.


There are speculation that he might be a CIA paramilitary member.

Afghan officials detained Zakaria Kandahari, a translator accused of killing civilians while working for an American Special Forces unit. Maj. Gen. Manan Farahi, head of intelligence for the Afghan Defense Ministry, said Kandahari, an Afghan-American, was in the custody of the National Directorate of Security and was being questioned about his role in the disappearances and deaths of up to 17 people. When he was arrested, Kandahari had three pistols, two fake Afghan National ID cards and seven other false IDs on him, the Afghan intelligence service NDS said. (20130707)


He is fluent in Pashto, which he speaks with a Kandahar accent, and English.

Last Modified 2013-07-07
Established 2013-06-04