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The Atlantic: Our Man in Kandahar

Author: Matthieu Aikins
November 1, 2011

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Abdul Raziq and his men have received millions of dollars' worth of U.S. training and equipment to help in the fight against the Taliban. But is our ally--long alleged to be involved in corruption and drug smuggling--also guilty of mass murder?

Shyly, at times smiling with weak adolescent bravado, the two young men recounted to me how they were beaten and tortured. It was July, and we were sitting at a table in the cavernous restaurant where they both work, in the stupefying summer heat. They slouched forward with their arms on their knees, frequently glancing down toward their open sandals, at toes where livid burns from the electrical wires were still visible.

I will call them Najib and Ahmad, though their names, like others in this article, have been changed to protect their safety. Both 23 years old, they looked like gangly young men who should be playing basketball on the street outside their house, or perhaps video games inside. But here in Kandahar City, the linchpin of the U.S. military’s campaign against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, they had found themselves the victims of America’s Afghan allies.

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