Inside, Parre began cutting chocolate as his cook prepared the tea. Mike asked about his relationship with Pacha Khan. Parre said that before he could respond, two men jumped him from behind, pushing him to the ground so that he could barely breathe.
In the next room, other American soldiers quickly subdued Parre's men, including his 18-year-old brother, Jamal Naseer. The Afghans were cuffed, hooded and tossed by their bound limbs into vehicles, Parre said.
The Americans also found the boy who allegedly had been pressed into sexual slavery and made plans to return him to his family. Before leaving, ODA 2021 confiscated a stash of munitions and mostly unserviceable weapons and blew them up.
Allegations of Abuse
The detainees said the physical abuse began as soon as they reached the Gardez firebase.
"We were kicked in the small of our back and told to stay straight, and cold water was poured over our body in the open air," Parre told The Times. "They put stones under our knees. We were continuously forced to stay on our knees until we lost the sensation of our legs and couldn't walk."
He said an interrogator ripped off one of his toenails. At another point, he said, someone fired four rounds near his head. The other seven detainees, among them a 23-year-old with one leg, also reported abuse.
Because the detainees were hooded through much of their detention, they said, they could not identify their interrogators, except to note that their speech sounded American.
"They were asking me international questions," Parre said. "Have you met any Al Qaeda leader? Have you gone to Pakistan? To Iran? And who was creating trouble on the highway? But I didn't know any of these things."
He said there were also questions about Pacha Khan. Interrogators had obtained a note from the warlord to Parre promising to make him a division commander. Parre said he told the Americans they no longer had ties.
As the beatings continued, he said, an Afghan interpreter pleaded with him to give the interrogators what they wanted. "Just say anything to get it to stop," Parre quoted the interpreter as saying. He said there were times he felt seconds from death. "I can't tell you the feeling," he said. "Half dead. Half alive."
An American in Gardez at the time said Afghan soldiers working with the Special Forces complained to someone on the team about the mistreatment. The American, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told The Times that interrogations were taken over after a day or two by a Navy SEAL. The detainees were moved into a tent at a back corner of the base, out of sight, he said.
The Times could not verify any involvement by the Navy commandos, but internal military documents show that SEALs were operating around Gardez during the period. A spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said it "was not alerted at any time to the potential of SEAL involvement."
The detention of Parre and his men was no secret in the region. An intelligence summary filed by ODA 2021 shortly after the arrests reported ecstatic reactions from both the Afghan government and the local populace. Gov. Dalili dropped by the firebase to offer congratulations. He reported that President Hamid Karzai was "very pleased," the summary said.
The team's intelligence reports about the operation flashed across computer screens at the Army's operations center in Bagram, said someone who was present. They also were distributed to NATO forces.
As required, the team reported the detentions to the 20th Group's 1st Battalion, and the information was passed along to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, the command over all Special Forces in Afghanistan.
The detainees were "still undergoing interviews," the team reported after a day, adding, "A lot of intelligence is being generated for follow-on operations."
Under Army procedures, Parre and his men should either have been released after four days or sent to a holding facility in Bagram if interrogations yielded evidence of ties to the Taliban or Al Qaeda.