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Abdullah SHAH






A.K.A.: "The Zardad's Dog"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robbed travelers on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad
Number of victims: 20 +
Date of murder: 1990s
Date of birth: 1965
Victim profile: Men and women
Method of murder: Several methods
Location: Paghman District, Afghanistan
Status: Executed by shot in the back of the head on April 20, 2004

Abdullah Shah (died April 20, 2004) was an Afghan man found guilty in Kabul of killing more than 20 people, including his wife. His sanctioned execution was the first in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001.

Shah served under Zardad Khan —even earning the nickname Zardad's dog— who served under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the Civil war in Afghanistan (1992–1996). Shah and Zardad robbed travelers on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad.

Shah was first convicted in special court proceedings in October 2002. Nine people testified against him at the trial, including another wife he tried to set on fire. The bodies of many of Shah's victims were found in a well in Paghman District.

The execution in the Pul-e-Charkhi jail. Interim president Hamid Karzai signed the death warrant. At the execution, Shah was shot in the back of the head. Witnesses present included representatives of the Afghan police and the Attorney General's office, and doctors.

Amnesty International protested against the execution claiming Afghanistan avoided basic standards of fairness. Amnesty International added that Abdullah Shah was probably silenced so he could not testify against commanders allied to the government. It said Shah was not provided a defense attorney, the trial was secret, a confession was obtained under torture, and that the first judge in his case was dismissed for taking a bribe. The second judge came under pressure from the Supreme Court to impose the sentence.


Former Afghan commander executed

BBC News

April 27, 2004

Afghanistan has carried out its first execution since the fall of Taleban hardliners more than two years ago.

A former military commander convicted of murder was killed at a jail outside Kabul last week, it emerged on Tuesday.

Abdullah Shah received a single shot to the head after President Karzai gave his approval, the attorney general's office told the Associated Press.

Amnesty International, the human rights group, says Abdullah Shah was denied even basic standards of fairness

The group said it feared the "execution may have been an attempt by powerful political players to eliminate a key witness to human rights abuses".

Abdullah Shah served under another commander, Zardad, in the 1992-96 civil war, and earned the nickname Zardad's Dog for attacks on travellers along the road between Jalalabad and Kabul in the 1990s.

The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says the fact that the government has only just confirmed an execution which took place on 20 April shows just how sensitive it is to criticism about the case.


Afghan officials say Abdullah Shah, executed at Pul-e-Charkhi jail, was convicted on 20 counts of murder in special court proceedings in October 2002.

He was found guilty of killing one of his wives by pouring boiling water over her body.

Another wife, who said he had tried to burn her to death after dousing her with petrol, was one of those who testified against him.

The court heard Abdullah Shah murdered his baby daughter by banging her repeatedly against a wall, officials say.

President Karzai had signed the death warrant reluctantly, his spokesman, Jawed Ludin, said.

But he added: "The president felt compelled by the need to ensure justice to the victims, especially in view of the nature of the crimes he [Abdullah Shah] committed."

The president had ordered a review of the case when the guilty verdict had first been delivered, but justice demanded the verdict "be delayed no further", the spokesman said.



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