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Accused torturer of Afghans arrested

KABUL — Afghan officials confirmed Sunday that they had arrested and were questioning Zakaria Kandahari, whom they have described as an Afghan-American interpreter responsible for torturing and killing civilians while working for a US Special Forces unit.

The arrest of Kandahari, who was sought on charges of murder, torture, and abuse of prisoners, was confirmed by Major General Manan Farahi, the head of intelligence for the Afghan Defense Ministry. He said Kandahari, who escaped from an American base in January after President Hamid Karzai demanded his arrest, was captured in Kandahar by the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence service. There had been speculation for the last three weeks that Kandahari was in custody.

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Afghan officials had accused the US military of deliberately allowing Kandahari to escape, a claim that US officials rejected.

Kandahari is wanted in connection with the disappearances and deaths of many of 17 Afghan civilians who were detained by a US Special Forces A Team for which he worked.

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