But now Haji Gulalai, the former head of Afghan spy services, has allegedly forged a new life in Southern California, where he is said to occupy a pink, two-storey stucco house in a quiet Los Angeles suburb.
Gulalai, now in his early 60s, was once a key figure in the Afghanistan war - 'a big wheel in a machine that ground up a lot of people', the Washington Post reports.
In Kandahar he ran the spy services operations following the US-led invasion in 2001. How he left behind that brutal career in Afghanistan and landed in L.A. - in an area that is said to remind him of the dry heat and landscape of Kandahar - is unclear.
Gulalai was able to bypass immigration barriers faced by Afghans whose work for the United States made them potential targets of the Taliban, the paper reports.
Despite links to the United States intelligence services, the CIA denied aiding his entry.
He was among a group of Pashtuns who were chosen to try and seize the Taliban stronghold, and had previously been involved in CIA-backed efforts to oust Soviet forces.
Gulalai, whose real name is Kamal Achakzai, went on to lead the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which was funded by U.S. intelligence agencies and faced allegations of human rights abuses.
New life: Gulalai, then an Afghan intelligence chief, is in sunglasses to the right of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2002
A secret memo from 2007 named Gulalai as the main culprit behind the the NDS's 'systematic' torturing.
It said he was 'personally involved in conducting beatings amounting to torture, in detaining suspects illegally and arbitrarily and in deliberately and systematically evading detention monitoring.'
Some claimed his extreme tactics even pushed neutral Afghans towards enemy factions. However his supporters have said his job was crucial to the protection of the city.
In the Southern California community he now allegedly calls home, Gulalai is said to be surrounded by a network of Afghans.
The front yard of his L.A. property has a locked gate, is surrounded by a white fence and has citrus trees scattered around it.
Bashir Wasifi, who attended school with Gulalai in the 1960s before moving to the California in 1979 said: 'We see each other every weekend, we play cards together.'
'His position was a cruel position so he did cruel things, but he is not like that.'
He claimed the former officer arrived with more than a dozen of his relatives.
Since he has settled in the community, he is said to have learned little English and is unemployed.
Neighbours said he lives with a number of children, ranging in age from toddlers to someone in their twenties.
Since he has moved, the UN have begun a more comprehensive investigation into the methods used by the NDS.
Oppositon: Retired General John R Allen stopped prison transfers to the NDS because of fears over human rights abuses
Retired Marine General John R. Allen suspended prisoner transfers to the security service after reports of abuse, and said the organisation relied on torture as an institutional 'reflex'.
During his time as a leading intelligence official, he was said to have operated under a 'culture of impunity' because of his link to international organisations.
He was nearly fired twice from the NDS, after UN Officials tried to persuade the then head Armullah Saleh to fire him.
But the orders were not followed because of ethnic politics and he was subsequently promoted and ended up in charge of the main prison in Kabul.