Afghanistan’s notorious spy chief Haji Gulalai – his real name is Kamal Achakzai – has decided to settle down in the leafy suburbs of Los Angeles, according to the Washington Post.
Gulalai (pictured, right) is reportedly living in a pink, two-story, rented house, surrounded by a gated community that reminds him of his hometown of Kandahar.
Gulalai, known for his reputation for brutality, was part of a core group of Pashtuns who were recruited by the CIA to help the agency and U.S. Special Ops teams seize Kandahar – the Taliban’s traditional stronghold – following the September 11, 2001 attacks. He went on to serve as head spy of the service’s detention and interrogation branch, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which was funded by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Gulalai’s whereabouts were unknown after 2009. Despite his links to the United States intelligence services, the CIA has denied aiding him and his family in their entry.
Many Afghans who have worked for the U.S. have been unsuccessful in securing visas to land on American soil due to the perception that they are targets of the Taliban, which makes Gulalai’s case notable. U.S. law prohibits the country from granting asylum to those who have persecuted others.
Both tremendously feared and wanted dead by both sides of the war, he has survived two assassination attempts by the Taliban. His defenders said that his daunting and dangerous job — to secure a province that had served for years as the base of operations for the Taliban and al-Qaeda — required him to be ruthless.
Measures to curb NDS abuses have been taken by the CIA, according to U.S. officials. But even after Gulalai’s departure, U.N. reports have documented widespread mistreatment of prisoners by the NDS.
Gulalai is reportedly having a difficult time adjusting to American life, doesn’t have a job, and hasn’t learned much English, according to the Post.