Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

The Gitmo Five: a hypothetical threat?

< 1 min

Himal (Kathmandu), 6 June 2014

A very clearly written piece by former the UN human rights chief in Kabul, Norah Niland, away from the overwhelming focus on the US perspective(s) elsewhere in many media, pointing out the shortcomings of the Guantanamo system, with its “common characteristic of the Bush and Obama administrations of equating suspicion of ‘terrorist’ activity with indefinite incarceration” and how this reflects “the US sense of exceptionalism with its assumption that the safety of American lives outranks all other considerations”. She writes that “although the Gitmo Five have spent twelve years behind bars, US officials have not presented any evidence to support allegations that the detainees posed a threat that endangered Americans or others” but “were never charged, prosecuted or allowed their day in court in order to challenge their incarceration.” Referring to deatils on the five former detainees provided by AAN’s Kate Clark, she adds some own experience with one of the five: “Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa [who] was the governor in Herat at the time… I met his staff in 2001 when displaced Afghans were pouring into Maslakh camp, on the outskirts of Herat in western Afghanistan, as a result of war and drought. At the time, the Taliban were subjected to sanctions and a Western-led agenda to isolate them, so that it was proving difficult to mobilise resources for humanitarian programmes. … and although he and his staff were suspicious of the international aid regime, they were anxious that maximum help was made available to the displaced and its distribution facilitated.”

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Taleban Guantanamo Herat Khairkhwa Maslakh