Afghan warlord arrested in England

An Afghan warlord accused of waging a campaign of murder, abductions and torture in his home country was under arrest in London last night following an investigation by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch.

Zardad Khan is being held in Paddington Green police station while a decision is to be made on whether to charge him under laws forbidding torture, which formed part of the case against the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Mr Khan - also known as Commander Zardad - has been running a pizza parlour in Bexleyheath, south-east London, for three years since he arrived in Britain and applied for asylum.

His arrest on Monday morning took place after detectives had travelled to Afghanistan to gather evidence.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said: "I can confirm that on 14 July officers from the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch arrested a 40-year-old man."

If charges are made against Mr Khan, it will be the first time the international convention on torture, incorporated into the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, has been used in a prosecution.

Police sources said that people had travelled hundreds of miles to speak to the Scotland Yard officers while they were in Afghanistan. It is alleged that potential witnesses were threatened by Mr Khan's associates and it is unclear how many would be prepared to travel to England for a trial.

One of Mr Khan's lieutenants, Abdullah Shah, nicknamed the "human dog", was used to bite prisoners. Large, hairy and educationally subnormal, he was kept in a cave with a chain around his neck by Mr Khan. Mr Shah was recently sentenced to death by a court in Kabul and has appealed against the verdict.

Mr Khan has maintained in his repeated applications to stay in this country, that he was an enemy of the Taliban. Soon after arriving in Britain he said: "We never harassed anyone, we never killed anyone. I was not the commander in Sarowbi, I was just an advisor.

"I came to England because we have lots of trouble because the Taliban are trying to kill me. I am not doing anything ... I am just living my life. Two of my brothers have died. I have not been able to return because I have no documents."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'