Posing as Afghan senator, man disappears with sensitive information

By AFP
Published: February 19, 2012

Officials in southern Afghanistan were at odds Sunday over a man some believe collected sensitive information by impersonating a parliament member in the violence-wracked country.

KABUL: Officials in southern Afghanistan were at odds Sunday over a man some believe collected sensitive information by impersonating a parliament member in the violence-wracked country.

The unidentified man claimed to be a senator from Kabul and managed to meet the governor, police chief, and head of intelligence of the restive southern province of Kandahar last week.

“He showed a fake letter from the senate to the governor of Kandahar who then took him to a lot of places he should not have been,” Mohammad Alam Ezdyar, deputy chairman of Afghanistan’s senate told AFP.

“He was a cheat, he was neither a senator nor a member of provincial council. He has definitely gathered a lot of important and sensitive documents,” he said.

Radio Free Europe cited Bismallah Afghanmal, who represents Kandahar in parliament’s upper house, saying the supposed senator was taken to several districts in the province where he was given “every possible piece” of security information.

But Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the provincial government, said the man wanted to build a museum in Kandahar city and has not obtained any sensitive data.

“Last week this guy who called himself Asif Sarhadi came to Kandahar to build a museum. He introduced himself as a senator from Kabul,” he said. “He met with the police chief, head of Kandahar intelligence and the governor. He did not visit secret locations, he only had this simple informal chat with officials about his museum. We didn’t know he was not a senator,” he said.

Asif Sarhadi is not the name of any Afghan senator.

The man later disappeared, another source said, adding that his mobile phone was no longer taking calls.

The Taliban said that the fake senator was not one of their agents and they have called journalists to try to find out about him.

But the militants, who have fought a violent insurgency since their government was toppled in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, have in the past used false pretences to gain access to Afghan officials.

In September, a man posing as a Taliban peace envoy travelled from Kandahar to Kabul to meet Burhanuddin Rabbani, Afghanistan’s top negotiator, but then blew himself and Rabbani up with a bomb hidden in his turban.

In 2010 a scammer who claimed to be a high-ranking Taliban official was brought by Nato forces to meet President Hamid Karzai for peace talks.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Sweet Dee
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:39PM

    …and they (Afghan intelligence) say that they have reliable info that Pakistan harbors the afghan taliban..Recommend

  • Feb 19, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Salute to Afghan Intel Chief :p

    Recommend

  • From Herat With Love
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:20PM

    … Afghan Intelligence (sic) … have been trained by the very competent (sic) RAW Consulting Group of New Delhi … and mentored, funded by the bungling, stumbling C.I.A … what do you expect?

    Recommend

  • Uzair J
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:07AM

    hahahahhahahah – LMAOOO – Man they say Pakistan funds and equips the insurgents across Afghanistan with special EVIDENCE =D Surely RAW has trained Afghan intelligence well.

    Recommend

  • khurram
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:23AM

    lol

    Recommend

  • Abdullah deewana
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:46AM

    @From Herat With Love: make up your mind. Sometime you blame RAW to be smart enough to cause all terrorism in your country and not get caught yet. An don other hand you call them incompetent. Hmmmm. So you like to twist facts to suite your wishful thinking ..eh ? Enjoy the bubble you live in.

    Recommend

  • Sheheryar
    Feb 20, 2012 - 8:04AM

    … an incompetent adviser is a real disaster …

    Recommend

  • Jahangir
    Feb 20, 2012 - 8:50AM

    Afghans are not very intelligent. Believe me I met a lot of them in Islamabad. They are too simple-minded gullible people. That is why Karzai is getting dumped by U.S.

    Recommend

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