Haji Gulalai ran intelligence operations in Afghanistan’s largest city after the U.S. invaded in 2001, and later ran the spy service’s crude detention and interrogation branch before disappearing in 2009.
He now lives, along with extended family, in a pink two-story house in the Los Angeles suburbs, The Washington Post reports.
A senior Western diplomat described Gulalai as Afghanistan’s ‘torturer in chief,” adding that he was “a big wheel in a machine that ground up a lot of people.”
Gulalai led the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which was funded, trained, and equipped by the CIA.
A secret memo from 2007 described NDS torture as “systemic” and identified Gulalai as the main culprit, noting that his methods included “sleep deprivation for as long as thirteen days” as well as “protracted periods fastened with handcuffs and chains and suspension from the ceiling.”
Afghan officials and former colleagues told The Post that Gulalai’s U.S. connections and notoriety on all sides of the war account for his extraordinary retirement to LA. The CIA denies helping Gulalai (whose real name is Kamal Achakzai), and the Post notes that his path to the U.S. “remains murky.”
Meanwhile, other Afghans — including those that served as interpreters for the U.S. military — are still waiting for U.S. visas.
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