Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

International Engagement

Bergdahl and the ‘Guantanamo Five’: The long-awaited US-Taleban prisoner swap

Kate Clark 18 min

The prisoner swap negotiated between the Taleban and United States has seen the release of the captured US soldier, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in return for five Taleban held at Guantanamo Bay, including one of the movement’s founders, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and the former chief of the army staff, Mullah Fazl. Much of the reporting on the five has been inaccurate, so AAN has updated research on their backgrounds carried out in 2012 by senior analyst Kate Clark. She also looks at the relevance of the deal (which had been in the cards since 2011 and was enacted secretly through the mediation of Qatar) for any broader negotiations with the Taleban.

The homecoming of five Taleban - arrival of the released in Qatar (this greeting scene took place by the side of a major highway through the desert). This picture, taken from Taleban social media, shows Abdul Nabi Omari, who has been added to the release-list for his links to Bergdahl’s captors, the Haqqani network. The US contention that Omari “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles” is nonsense, writes AAN's Kate Clark. "In reality, he was a mid-level figure."

It is just under five years since Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl disappeared off his army base in Paktia, near Yahyakhel, in as yet mysterious circumstances. He re-surfaced in Taleban videos and statements as a prisoner, it was presumed of the Haqqani network (a partially autonomous network within the Taleban movement; read background here). Bergdahl is now safely back in US hands, after being transferred to the US military while a day-long, local ceasefire held good. Meanwhile, the five Taleban captured at various times during 2001 and 2002 and held in Guantanamo Bay have arrived in Qatar (see reporting on the releases here, here and here).

For years, there had been discussions and, indeed, attempts to get Bergdahl swapped for the four most senior Taleban held at Guantanamo, the former governor of Herat and founding member of the Taleban, Khairullah Khairkhwa, former chief of the army staff Fazl Mazlum, former head of the northern zone Nurullah Nuri, and former deputy head of intelligence Abdul Haq Wasiq, along with a fifth relatively minor figure, Abdul Nabi Omari. He looks to have been included because of his links to the Haqqani network which was holding Bergdahl. In 2011, when the US first opened secret direct negotiations with Tayyeb Agha, then an envoy of the Taleban leadership, Bergdahl was top of the American agenda (see mention of this here). The US believed that if Agha could deliver on their missing soldier, it would prove his capabilities to act on more substantive issues.

The swap was always a bilateral issue, but originally discussed as part of wider efforts for a negotiated end to the conflict and, in particular, to the possible opening of a Taleban political office in Qatar. (The office did indeed open, in June 2012, only to swiftly close again, largely because of Karzai’s anger at the Taleban’s use of the trappings of state.) When the swap was first explored, the US was the major anti-Taleban player in the war, so bilateral peace talks, with the prisoner swap as a key part, made sense to both parties – although President Karzai was, of course, outraged at his exclusion and sought swiftly to gain control of any contacts and of any released Taleban. However, the war has changed. It is now a largely intra-Afghan conflict and President Karzai long ago succeeded in wresting control of the ‘peace process’. President Obama used the occasion of Bergdahl’s release to make encouraging, if vague, noises on peace, saying the release could “potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground.” In reality though, the US is on its way out and the swap looks like a clearing up of unfinished business before its troops (largely) leave at the end of 2014 (a smaller contingent may stay behind if the next Afghan president signs the Bilateral Security Agreement).

On the Taleban side, it was, significantly, their (officially closed, but apparently still active) political bureau in Qatar that played the key role in negotiations, as the Taleban’s official statement acknowledged. An interview (in Pashto) with office member, Nek Muhammad, highlighted the role of the head of the office, Tayyeb Agha, as chief negotiator in the talks. (1) He said they had originally intended to negotiate directly with the Americans, but then decided it was better to go through Qatar given the complexity of the issues. (This also allowed the White House to say it “doesn’t talk to terrorists.”) One other interesting detail in Nek Muhammad’s interview is his hint that Na’im Kuchi played a role in the handover. Kuchi, a former senior mujahedin and Taleban commander, was detained in Guantanamo, but ‘reconciled’ on his release in 2004 and is now a member of the High Peace Council, although not a particularly active one. Nek Muhammad said Bergdahl had been transferred to the Americans at 6.30 in the evening on Saturday 31 May in the Bati area of Alisher district of Khost province, “near the home of Sardar Na’im Kuchi.” If Kuchi did play a role in the transfer, it looks most likely to have been in his personal capacity and kept secret from the High Peace Council (as news of the deal did not leak).

How Obama thought the swap might help “open the door for broader discussions among Afghans” is unclear. The swap remained a secret, bilateral issue to the end. The Afghan government was side-lined and kept uninformed about the deal until it was over. It is reportedly (see here and here) very unhappy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a letter to the US Embassy which said it would only support the releases if the men had consented to go to Qatar and were fully free there; if their lives were restricted, said the ministry, this would be contrary to international law, as no country had the right to hand over another country’s prisoners to a third country to detain them. If this had been the case, it urged the men’s “unconditional release”. (2)

The deal has left the position of the Taleban political officials in Qatar, particularly Tayyeb Agha, strengthened vis-à-vis the Taleban leadership. Qatar has also, unlike other mooted mediating countries, shown it can deliver the goods. It has, in effect, snubbed the Afghan government, but in doing so, also showed itself to be a trusted ally of the US and a confidant at least of the Qatar-based Taleban (after it had wavered when Karzai successfully pushed for the ‘closure’ of the Taleban office there in 2012). Qatar underwrote the deal, agreeing to take the five Taleban and, said Obama, giving the US “assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security” and, in particular, that the five will be under a one year travel ban.

Some senior Republicans have said they do not trust the Gulf state to keep the five out of the insurgency and are unhappy with the deal. (3) Senator John McCain, for example, said he was “eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan.” As AAN has reported in the past, US allegations against the five and press reporting on them (largely by Washington-based journalists, rather than Kabul correspondents) have frequently been inaccurate. Only one of the five – Mullah Fazl – actually has the record to deserve McCain’s “vicious and violent” label, for example.

It is well worth reading through the men’s Guantanamo files, which can be found in official documents released under a Freedom of Information request (made by The New York Times and NPR or through Wikileaks (published by McClatchy). The US ‘intelligence’ on the detainees is shocking in its mistakes on facts, misconceptions and problems with basic justice: as AAN has reported, many of the allegations are unsubstantiated and bizarre, showing a poor knowledge of the Taleban and Afghanistan before 2001. All US claims, therefore, have to be double checked with credible sources, something which, on the whole, the press has failed to do.

The New York Times, for example, reports that Omari “is described” in his Guantanamo files as “one of the most significant former Taliban leaders detained”, with “strong operational ties to anti-coalition militia groups, including Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani network.” The BBC says he held “multiple Taliban leadership roles, including chief of security.” Omari was, in fact, at most, a mid-level figure in the movement. The Times also reported (note the passive tense) that Nuri and Fazl, “are accused of having commanded forces that killed thousands of Shiite Muslims.” The BBC, breaking its own rules on sourcing (4), does not even cite the US military when it makes the same and similar allegations. Actually, Nuri was not a commander and held civilian, not military posts during the Taleban government. None of the war crimes reporting – from the Afghanistan Justice Project (here), the suppressed United Nations Mapping Report of 2005 or various UN and Human Rights Watch reports from the time or interviews with survivors and witnesses carried out by AAN – attributes any killings to him. Unless and until proper details – date, place and Nuri’s alleged command position – are presented, this looks like a generic allegation and should be discounted. As for Fazl, as Taleban chief of the army staff, he, among others, had command responsibility for some of the Taleban massacres of civilians (largely Shia, but also Sunni, and running into the hundreds, not thousands) which took place during the regime’s last years, but the main accusation against him, amply sourced in the war crimes literature, is of the industrial-scale destruction of civilian property and associated killings in the (Sunni-populated) Shomali in 1999. (5)

The facts are important. Fazl is the only one of the five to face accusations of explicit war crimes and they are, indeed, extremely serious. One would also want to say that Wasiq was deputy head of an agency which carried out torture – except that torture has always been carried out by Afghan intelligence whoever has been in charge and, indeed, this has been no bar to close cooperation with it by the US and other countries since 2001. There is no or little evidence of criminal wrong-doing against the other three men. Two while in office – Khairkhwa and Nuri – were known as moderates within the movement. It is also worth noting that Khairkhwa, Wasiq, Fazl and Nuri were taken to Guantanamo after they had either surrendered peacefully in return for promised safe passage home or had reached out to the new administration in Kabul. Wasiq was tricked, a tactic which helped sow the seeds of the current insurgency, as it showed Taleban they would not be allowed to live in peace after their regime fell. (For more detail on all of this, see here.)

Whether the release of the five men might now aid reconciliation is unknown; they may be useful for negotiations or many years in detention may have hardened them to thoughts of compromise. Either way, it is important to know their biographies because these will be the most senior Taleban who are ‘free’ – albeit in Qatar, but not involved in the insurgency. In 2012, in response to the many obvious inaccuracies being published about them, AAN carried out extensive research and put together the following biographies (first published here). They have been a little updated with fresh information.

Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa

Khairkhwa is the most senior of the five on the list. Now in his mid-40s and a Popalzai from Arghestan in Kandahar, several people who knew him described him as ‘eagle-eyed’ and intelligent. He is one of the fraternity of original Taleban who launched the movement in 1994 – in other words, he is someone who will still command a great deal of influence and respect among today’s insurgents. It is mystifying to know where the Guantanamo Bay authorities got the idea that Khairkhwa was known, in their words, as a “hardliner in terms of Taleban philosophy”. During the Emirate, he was considered one of the more moderate Taleban in leadership circles, along with commanders like Mullah Burjan (killed in 1996) and Mullah Omar’s deputy, Mullah Rabbani, who died of cancer in April 2001 (although his name stayed on the UN sanctions list for years). I met Khairkhwa in September 2000. Unlike many Taleban, he was comfortable speaking to a foreigner and, very unusually, happy to be interviewed in Persian (most Taleban would only speak Pashto at the time). Herat, where he was the governor, was noticeably more relaxed than Kabul, Mazar or Kandahar: I filmed openly in the city (then an illegal act), the economy was reasonably buoyant and women came up to chat – a very rare occurrence. (6)

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, who present biographies of many Taleban in their book, An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban/Al-Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010 say it is believed that Khairkhwa was educated in the Haqqaniya and Akora Khattak madrassas in Pakistan and fought with the Harakat-e Enqelab-e Islami party during the 1980s jihad against the Soviets. He was a Taleban spokesman in the early days (1994-1996) and briefly interior minister following the Taleban takeover of Kabul. One witness who was in Mazar-e Sharif when the Taleban captured the city in 1997 placed him as a commander there, leading forces from western Afghanistan, although the witness said Khairkhwa did not participate in the defection agreement conducted in Faryab with General Malik. After the Taleban took Mazar, the city rebelled and thousands of Taleban were killed, some in fighting, but most afterwards by Malik (who had changed sides again), when they were prisoners of war. The bulk of Taleban forces were driven out and, according to the witness, Khairkhwa led those Taleban who withdrew westwards. (7) He eventually established a new frontline in Bala Murghab, in Badghis province.

There is one war crime in which Khairkhwa may have had command and control responsibility, although this has not been substantiated. During the 1997 retreat, Taleban and/or their local Hezb-e Islami allies killed several dozen civilians in villages in the Dehdadi district of Balkh province. This area had suffered and would continue to suffer tit for tat attacks by both Pashtun and Hazara armed groups against the others’ civilians. The 1997 killings are referred to in a UN report with the possibility that they were carried out by Taleban or by local Pashtun, Hezb-e Islami commanders, who were under Taleban command. (8) Khairkhwa subsequently became governor of Herat and witnesses do not place him as having taken part in the second campaign to capture Mazar in 1998 when the Taleban murdered at least two thousand mainly Hazara civilians, both men and boys, in revenge killings which were accompanied by explicitly anti-Shi’a rhetoric.

In February 2002, Khairkhwa was arrested by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the Americans; after a short period of detention in Kandahar, he was transferred to Guantánamo jail. According to Anand Gopal in his new book, No Friends Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, the arrest was made after Khairkhwa had contacted representatives of Ahmad Wali Karzai, President Karzai’s half-brother (he was friendly with the family). He was looking for a formal amnesty and possibly a post in the new administration and the two sides met in a safe house in Chaman on the Pakistani side of the border where he was arrested. (9) Khairkhwa’s name has come up repeatedly for possible release – including in February 2011 by the High Peace Council. Khairkhwa also featured in a case taken to the Federal District Court in Washington DC in March 2011, which sought his release because of ‘unlawful detention’. Hekmat Karzai, the director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and cousin of President Karzai, backed the case, saying he thought fair treatment of prisoners prevented further radicalisation and could aid reconciliation. “Mr Khairkhwa is well respected amongst the Taliban and was considered a moderate by those who knew him,” he told al-Jazeera. “We believe he can help in creating the address for the Taliban that is needed in this peace process.” The two also share the same tribal background.

Mullah Fazl Mazlum

Mullah Fazl was also a famous name during the Taleban era. He is a Kakar by tribe, originally from Tirinkot in Uruzgan, and is also old enough to have fought at a junior level during the 1980s jihad. While not one of the original Taleban, he joined early and rose through the ranks because of his fighting ability. He ended up as one of the most important and feared commanders of the Emirate and was head of the army staff in 2001. Unlike other Taleban commanders, he never took a civilian post. There is evidence documented by the Afghanistan Justice Project (AJP) that he had command responsibilities for two grave breaches of the laws of armed conflict.

In 1999, he was one of the senior field commanders in the Shomali offensive, leading forces along the Old Road to Mirbacha Kot (while Mullah Dadullah – killed while fighting in 2007 – commanded forces on the New Road connecting Kabul with Bagram further west). The victorious Taleban destroyed civilian infrastructure in Shomali on an industrial scale – burning houses, vineyards, orchards and destroying irrigation systems; they also summarily executed civilians and surrendered Northern Alliance fighters and forcibly displaced civilians, contributing to an exodus of 300,000 people. AJP reports:

One eye witness, who fought with the Taliban specifically implicates Mullah Fazil as supervising the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure. On August 10, 1999, this commander went for a meeting with Mullah Fazil, near the front line, in Kalakan District. He observed widespread, deliberate destruction to houses and shops in the area. Fazil was in the field, supervising demolition operations.

Fazl also had what AJP calls “strategic responsibility” as the head of the army staff when the Taleban were trying to subdue resistance in and around Yakowlang (Bamyan province) in 2001, involving a series of massacres of civilians and the burning of villages. Others are also implicated, both those on the ground and in other command positions. (10) AJP says Fazl “visited occasionally, including during major operations,” and that he “must have been involved in the planning and supervision of the operation.”

Nurullah Nuri

Nuri was head of the northern zone (rais-e tanzima-ye shomal) and governor of Balkh – both administrative, not military positions – when he was captured in November 2001. A Tokhi from Zabul, he was too young to fight in the 1980s jihad and joined the Taleban as they were expanding northwards. Not a member of the original Taleban ‘band of brothers’, he nonetheless rose through the ranks, holding a number of provincial governor positions – in Wardak, Laghman and Baghlan – before ending up in charge of the north. As said earlier, there is nothing in the war crimes reporting linking him to any charges.

Along with Fazl and the late Mullah Dadullah, Nuri negotiated the surrender of Taleban fighters in Kunduz (concluded on 26 November 2001) with General Dostum and the late General Daud. The Taleban believed the peaceful surrender of men and weapons was to be in exchange for safe passage home and indeed, a meeting with Dostum, Muhaqqiq and Atta was filmed. The deal actually ended in chaos and bloodshed – the prisoner uprising and its violent quashing in Qala-ye Jangi and the suffocating to death of thousands of Taleban prisoners and their burial in Dasht-e Laili. This final massacre of the 1978-2001 conflict is something which Dostum and his US Special Forces allies have yet to address. As for the three Taleban leaders who surrendered, Dadullah managed to flee; the other two, Fazl and Nuri, were handed over to US forces and have been in Guantanamo since.

Abdul Haq Wasiq

Wasiq was deputy chief of the Taleban estakhbarat (intelligence). He was appointed after his cousin, Qari Ahmadullah, became its head. Ahmadullah, a founding member of the Taleban, was reported killed in a US bombing raid in early January 2002. Wasiq is an Andar from Ghazni province. He was detained in a sting operation in late 2001 in Ghazni, after being tricked by a subordinate who knew that he had travelled to Pakistan to see Rahim Wardak (who became defence minister under President Karzai) to start cooperating with the US. The subordinate told Wasiq he had set up a meeting with the Hezb-e Wahdat leader (and current outgoing second vice-president) Abdul Karim Khalili, with whom he could negotiate a security guarantee for safe passage to Kabul and reintegration. Wasiq and Khalili are known to have previously been in contact. One listener to the BBC in November 2001 remembers Wasiq saying that “Mr Khalili” had agreed to give safe passage through the Hazarajat to Taleban forces fleeing southwards. However, when Wasiq turned up at the rendezvous, instead of Khalili being there, he was delivered to a US Special Forces team and has been in Guantanamo ever since.

Abdul Nabi Omari

Omari was clearly added to the list because of his links to Bergdahl’s captors, the Haqqani network. A younger brother, Abdul Rashid, is close to and possibly an aide of the effective leader of the network, Serajuddin Haqqani. In 2012, we published that Omari was from Khost and had worked there as a judge during the Taleban government and that he may also have worked in the ministry of tribes and borders under the then ministership of Serajuddin’s father, Jalaluddin Haqqani. (A younger brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, Ibrahim Omari, was deputy minister then.) Since then, we have gathered more details. According to one of Omari’s students, he is from the Ismailkhel-Manozai district of Khost and was very active during the jihad against the Soviet occupation, fighting with the students’ (taleban) front of the mullah-dominated mujahedin faction, Harakat-e Enqelab-e Islami. Omari’s student said that, in 1994-96 (ie during Rabbani’s mujahedin government), he was Khost’s security chief (amer-e amniat). He said many khalqi communists were assassinated in Khost during this time and their followers believed Omari was behind these killings. When the Taleban were in power, his student said he served as chief of police in Zabul, and later as chief of the border police at the Ministry of Interior. (The Taleban videoreleased after the prisoner swap simply describes him as a former commander of a border police bataillon.) The US contention (read it here) that Omari “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles” is nonsense. In reality, he was a mid-level figure, although one whose ongoing links to the Haqqani family got him onto the released list. The other four former detainees can be classed as Taleban leaders, but not Omari.

The five released detainees are now in Qatar and, according to the Taleban, their families will join them there. They were not the only Afghans left in Guantanamo. (11) Taleban political office member Nek Muhammad has said they did raise the fate of the remaining Afghans detainees and both US and Qatar “signalled” that, once the five were out, they “would start talking” about those remaining in Guantanamo. On the face of it, negotiations for the rest may be more difficult – what have the Taleban now to offer the Americans in return? On the other hand, if the US is looking to clear up the unfinished business of the Afghan war, the Afghan detainees in Guantanamo are a clear anomaly. Moreover, with the war, in Obama’s words, due to “come to a responsible end” at the end of the year, continuing to hold Afghan military detainees becomes legally questionable. At the moment, several (see footnote 11) are slated for “indefinite detention” in Guantanamo, but at the end of wars, military detainees have to be released (see detailed analysis of this here). Opposition from a Congress slighted over the release of the five could be expected. Even so, it is possible that more Afghans may yet be leaving Cuba.


(1) The interview, given to the website Nunn.Asia, says the delegation was lead by the head of the Qatar political office, Tayyeb Agha, with Sheikh Syed Rasul, Din Muhammad Hanif, Abdul Salam Hanifi, Sohail Shahin, Jan Agha Ahmadzai and Nek Muhammad himself. (See biographies of the men here).

(2) The full text of the letter sent to the US Embassy and posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, is as follows (AAN translation):

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has from the beginning opposed strongly to taking of freedom of Afghan citizens in Guantanamo or any other place. Recently, five Afghan citizens have been transferred in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Guantanamo prison to Qatar in contradiction to the prior agreement with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan brings the following to the attention of the United States of America:

1. If the aforementioned Afghan citizens are transferred from Guantanamo to Qatar by the United States at their consent and with their willingness and in keeping with their full freedom, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in this event, welcomes this move in regard to its commitment to the constitution and to the protection of the rights of its citizens.

2. If the United States has handed over the aforementioned Afghan citizens to Qatar in opposition to the prior agreement, in order to take and restrict their freedom, then it is in clear opposition to the accepted international rules which state that no state can hand over a citizen of another state to a third country as a prisoner or as someone whose freedoms are taken or restricted. In this event, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, expressing its strong objection, urges the unconditional release of its citizens and demands the United States and the state of Qatar to treat them as individuals with full free wills, according to international human rights laws, and to ensure the protection of their rights as soon as possible.

(3) Congress was not informed about the deal beforehand. US law requires relevant Congressional committees be given thirty days notice for any releases from Guantanamo. They must be given the reason for the releases and assured that those freed cannot threaten the US or its interests. The White House said “unique and exigent circumstances” justified the lack of notice in the Bergdahl case (see here and here).

(4) The author formerly worked for the BBC; it mandates double sourcing and the clear stating or who is making any accusation.

(5) The one massacre in which “thousands of Shias” were killed by the Taleban was in 1998 in Mazar-e Sharif. The Taleban governor, Mullah Manan Niazi, had command responsibility.

(6) I reported on 4 June 2001 on Khairkhwa’s reaction to a Taleban Vice and Virtue police raid on Herat’s central hospital and their forcible trimming of the beards of medical staff and patients. After doctors fought back and complained to Khairkhwa, he publically condemned the raid and disciplined the police. Ahmad Rashid also carried the story in The Daily Telegraph:

… hospital staff and people, including women [joined] in a march to the house of Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the governor of Herat. Mullah Khairkhwa reprimanded the religious police but Herat remains tense due to the standoff with the official Taliban administration and the young vigilantes of the religious police. (6 June 2001)

(7) The other tranche of Taleban fighters was led first south to Baghlan and then to Kunduz by Mullahs Dadullah, Fazl and Amir Khan Muttaqi (the Taleban minister of information and culture and then education and currently head of the Taleban’s media committee). During this retreat, the Taleban killed dozens of Hazara civilians in Qizilabad, as well as 50 Jombesh prisoners at Qala-ye Kul Muhammad.

(8) In order for Khairkhwa to be held guilty for the Dehdadi killings, it would need to be proved that he had ‘command responsibility’, in other words that he ordered or instigated his subordinates to kill the civilians or failed to prevent them from carrying out the killings or failed to punish them afterwards. Article 28 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court specifies the following requirements in establishing command responsibility:

  • The subordinates must be under the effective command and control, or the effective authority or control of the superior;
  • The military commander knew or should have known that his forces were committing or about to commit such a crime;
  • The military commander failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the crimes or to punish them by submitting them to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

(9) In another variant of the story told to AAN by a former Taleban minister, Khairkhwa left to Quetta after the collapse of the Taleban and it was then Ahmad Wali Karzai who sent a message to him to come to Kandahar for talks. He did come and was around Shah Wali Kot, but left before holding any talks. He spent that night with the former Kabul governor Abdul Manan Niazi in Chaman. There, the Pakistanis raided Manan’s house, but while the host escaped, Khairkhwa was arrested. It was only later that they discovered they had netted a more important figure than their intended target. The stories are slightly different; what they share is that Khairkhwa and the new government were reaching out to each other and Khairkhwa was looking for ways to find an accommodation with the new regime.

(10) AJP names the following as having command and control responsibilities during the various massacres and village burnings of 2001: Mullah Shahzad, in charge of the Yakowlang strike force, Mullah Abdul Sattar, regional military commander for Hazarajat, Jihadyar and Mullah Dadullah, both front commanders, Qari Ahmadullah, head of intelligence, Abdul Razaq (Minister of the Interior), and Mullah Omar (head of state).

(11) Nek Muhammad said there were 14 Afghans left in Guantanamo. The Miami Herald/McClatchy files name eleven. Details are below. Information is from US official documents, so should be taken with a large pinch of salt. (ISN is the Internment Serial Number).

ISN 560 Hajawali Mohmad, Afghan. A multi-agency federal task force classified him in January 2010 as “continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war,” an indefinite detainee.

ISN 753 Abdul Zahir, Afghan. In 2006, the Bush administration designated him for trial by military commissions in charges the Obama administration had dismissed without prejudice. Charges included attacking civilians, aiding the enemy and conspiracy for allegedly attacking a civilian vehicle, injuring three journalists, and supporting the Taliban and al Qaeda forces in hostilities against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

ISN 762 Obaidullah, Afghan. During the Bush administration he was designated for trial by a now defunct version of the military commissions. Attorney General Eric Holder has also approved his trial by the new revamped military commission. In January 2010, a federal task force recommended he be considered for trial. A federal judge upheld his indefinite detention Oct. 19, 2010.

ISN 899 Shawali Khan, Afghan. A federal judge upheld his indefinite detention Sept. 3, 2010, denying his habeas corpus petition. An Obama administration task force in January 2010 designated him as cleared for release.

ISN 928 Khi Ali Gul, Afghan. An Obama administration task force in January 2010 designated him as cleared for release.

ISN 934 Abdul Ghani, Afghan. An Obama administration task force in January 2010 designated him as cleared for release.

ISN 975 Bostan Karim, Afghan. A multi-agency federal task force classified him in January 2010 as “continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war,” an indefinite detainee.

ISN 1045 Mohammed Kamin, Afghan. He has been designated for trial by military commission.

ISN 1119 Hamidullah, Afghan. A multi-agency federal task force classified him in January 2010 as “continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war,” an indefinite detainee.

ISN 3148 Harun al Afghani, Afghan. In January 2010, a federal task force recommended he be considered for trial.

ISN 10029 Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani, Afghan. The Pentagon announced that this former CIA captive was taken to Guantánamo on March 14, 2008. He is held in secret camp where the Pentagon segregates so-called high-value detainees. A multi-agency federal task force classified him in January 2010 as “continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war,” an indefinite detainee.




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