To anyone else, he was a nondescript middle-aged Afghan man driving a 20-year-old Toyota Corolla along the highway from Baghlan to Mazar-i-Sharif.
But to the Taliban scouts and operatives watching the road that day in 2019, he was special. They somehow knew he was a senior officer of the Afghan National Directorate of Security—the Kabul government’s intelligence branch.
The rocket-propelled grenade that struck him near Pol-e-Khomri seemed like it came out of nowhere. It was followed by a spray of gunfire. Minutes later, the man’s remains were discovered by a convoy of Afghan army recruits that the Taliban didn’t bother with, according to an account provided by the dead man’s son, who is now in exile in Turkey.
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