In 2012, I received a phone call from the family of Arsala Rahmani, the Afghan senator with whom I'd become friendly. That morning, a gunman had pulled up alongside Rahmani's vehicle, idling in a crowded intersection, and shot him point blank.
Never short of guns and guerrillas, Afghanistan has proven fertile ground for a host of insurgent groups in addition to the Taliban.
Night raids are only the first step in the American detention process in Afghanistan. Suspects are usually sent to one of a series of prisons on U.S. military bases around the country. There are officially nine such jails, called Field Detention Sites in military parlance.
Afghan human rights campaigners worry that U.S. forces may be using secret detention sites like the one allegedly at Rish-Khor to carry out interrogations away from prying eyes. The U.S. military, however, denies even having knowledge of the facility.
In the summer of 2004, Malem Jan was sitting with Sirajuddin Haqqani, the second son of Jalaluddin, in their Pakistani base in the North Waziristan town of Miram Shah when they heard their names on the BBC. The Americans were offering $250,000 and $200,000, respectively, as rewards for information leading to their capture.
When US-led forces toppled the Taliban government in November 2001, Afghans celebrated the downfall of a reviled and discredited regime.