No Comment — April 6, 2010, 3:09 pm

Death in the Salt Pit

The AP’s Kathy Gannon and Adam Goldman expand their coverage of the death of Gul Rahman in CIA custody in November 2002. They reveal a bit more about who Rahman was, starting with the fact that he apparently saved the life of a young deputy foreign minister named Hamid Karzai, who went on to become the American-installed president of Afghanistan:

The only prisoner known to have died in the CIA’s network of secret prisons once rescued Hamid Karzai, wading through rocket and small-arms fire to take the wounded future president to safety in Pakistan, according to his brother and former associates. The prisoner, Gul Rahman, died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold cement wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul known as the Salt Pit, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the case confirmed. His family is appealing to the International Red Cross to return his body.

Rahman was captured about three weeks before his death in a raid in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad against Hezb-e-Islami, an Afghan insurgent group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, which was believed to have ties to al-Qaida. Rahman was arrested along with Hekmatyar’s son-in-law, Dr. Ghairat Baheer. Baheer, who was later released, was part of a Hezb-e-Islami delegation that came to Kabul last month to talk peace with Karzai. Rahman’s brief association with the future Afghan president, reported by his brother Habib Rahman, adds an ironic twist to the account of his death at the hands of the CIA, and illustrates the complex history of the different Afghan factions still competing for power in this war-ravaged country.

This should add to the pressure to fully investigate this death, to exhume Rahman’s body and examine it, and to turn the remains over to his family. The CIA’s failure to do this only compounds suspicions about the circumstances of the death.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us If You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today