Taliban commander claims he spent 8 years in Guantanamo Bay

0
35

A Taliban commander bragged in a victory speech from inside the Presidential Palace in Kabul that he spent eight years in Guantanamo Bay, the notorious lockup in Cuba used by the US to house some of the world’s most notable suspected terrorists.

The unidentified man made his comments in a press conference live-streamed by Al Jazeera hours after President Ashraf Ghani fled from Afghanistan, the Times of London reported.

He and other Taliban fighters demanded a “peaceful transfer of power,” while a spokesman for the group’s political office told Al Jazeera TV that the war was over in the war-torn country.

“I want to congratulate the Muslim Afghan people on this huge victory. Day by day we will get involved in the service of our nation, in providing them with the security and hope for their future,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban in Afghanistan, said in another clip, the UK outlet reported.

U.S. Navy, U.S. Military Police guard Taliban and al Qaeda detainees in orange jumpsuits January 11, 2002 in a holding area at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
U.S. Navy, U.S. Military Police guard Taliban and al Qaeda detainees in orange jumpsuits January 11, 2002 in a holding area at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
A U.S. Army soldier stands at the entrance to Camp Delta where detainees from the U.S. war in Afghanistan live April 7, 2004 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A U.S. Army soldier stands at the entrance to Camp Delta where detainees from the U.S. war in Afghanistan live April 7, 2004 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Taliban spokesman added: “We don’t interfere with others’ affairs and we won’t allow interference in our affairs. We have reached what we were seeking — the freedom of our country and the independence of our people.”

Thousands of terrorists were freed after the Taliban seized control of the former US base at Bagram and the prison known as Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay, where captured senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders had been taken by US forces before being flown to the real Guantanamo Bay, according to the report.

The Bagram lockup contained the 5,000 “highest-value” Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters, who a Taliban spokesman said were “being evacuated to a safe place.”

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban gain control.
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban gain control.
AFP via Getty Images

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace warned that Afghanistan could once again harbor terrorists who could plot attacks against the West.

“I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people,” he told Sky News. “Al-Qaeda will probably come back.”

The US opened the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in January 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, to hold people accused of ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Taliban fighters pose inside Afghanistan's Presidential Palace after taking control of the building.
Taliban fighters pose inside Afghanistan’s Presidential Palace after taking control of the building.
AP Photo/Zabi Karimi
Mullah Baradar Akhund, a senior official of the Taliban, said “I want to congratulate the Muslim Afghan people on this huge victory."
Mullah Baradar Akhund, a senior official of the Taliban, said “I want to congratulate the Muslim Afghan people on this huge victory.”
Via REUTERS

It became a source of international criticism over the mistreatment of prisoners and the prolonged imprisonment of people without charge.

In February, President Biden announced that he was reviewing the state of the military prison with the hope of shutting it down.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki last month said it was the “goal” and “intention” of the Biden administration to close the facility, a promise former President Barack Obama made when he took office in January 2009.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the Taliban's resurgence.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the Taliban’s resurgence.
SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter sits on the back of vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, on Aug. 16, 2021.
A Taliban fighter sits on the back of vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, on Aug. 16, 2021.
AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

Obama repeated the closing goal several times during his two terms but was never able to find a path to a shutdown because of legal and political obstacles.

In contrast, then-President Trump signed an executive order to keep the prison open.

Source link