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:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

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

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2015

Displaced in the D.R.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quietest Place in the Universe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Black Hat, White Hat

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beyond the Broken Window

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Search of a Stolen Fiddle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
In Search of a Stolen Fiddle·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“To lose an instrument is to lose an essential piece of one’s identity. It brings its own solitary form of grief.”
Violin © Serge Picard/Agence VU
Post
Driving the San Joaquin Valley·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Don sucked the last of his drink through his straw and licked his lips. 'The coast, to me, is more interesting than the valley.'”
Photograph by the author
Article
Othello’s Son·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Fred Morton, who died this week in Vienna, at the age of 90, was a longtime contributor to Harper's Magazine and a good friend. "Othello's Son," which was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013, appeared in our September 2013 issue.
Photograph © Alex Gotfryd/CORBIS
Article
Beyond the Broken Window·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“By the time Bratton left the department, in 2009, Los Angeles had quietly become the most spied-on city in America.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Displaced in the D.R.·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“How is it possible that my birth certificate is invalid if I was born here?”
Photograph by Pierre Michel Jean

Number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States:

16

Iowa urologists reported that only a minor portion of locker-room teasing arises from “the presence of excess foreskin”; most teasing targets small penises.

A farmer in Surrey, England, was ordered by the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to tear down his cannon-equipped castle, which he had built secretly and then concealed behind hay bales.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today