via Pentagon returns four Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan | Fox News.
The Pentagon said Saturday it has released four Afghan detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to their home country, President Obama’s most recent effort to reduce the detainee population toward his goal of closing the facility.
They will be given to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, reducing the number of Guantanamo detainees to 132, including eight Afghans.
The four were released after the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review, including whether they were a security risk, as directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order.
U.S. officials said the release of the detainees is an indication of improved U.S.-Afghan relations and a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
There is no requirement that the Afghan government further detain the men, identified as Mohammed Zahir, Shawali Khan, Abdul Ghani and Khi Ali Gul.
The facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was opened in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Administration officials, speaking on a condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, say more transfers are expected in the coming weeks.
Those remaining include 64 approved for transfer.
Though the four Afghans have long been approved for transfer, the move sparked debate in Washington.
Outgoing-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did not immediately sign off after Gen. John F. Campbell, the top American commander in Afghanistan, raised concerns they could pose a danger to troops in the country.
However, administration officials say Campbell and all military leaders on the ground have now screened the move.
“The United States is grateful to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said. “The United States coordinated with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
One administration official involved in the review said most, if not all, the terrorism accusations against the men had been discarded and each is considered a low-level operative at best.
This as the Taliban grows in strength and openly publicizes training camp in northern Afghanistan.
And regarding the Gitmo jihadis Obama released to Uruguay, president Mujica says Guantanamo inmates in Uruguay can leave whenever they wish.
More details via the rhetorically titled: Will freed Guantanamo detainees resurface on battlefield?
The four that went to Afghanistan, with no requirement that they be detained, are:
According to documents, Zahir was a high-level Taliban intelligence official arrested on suspicion of having, among other contraband, uranium. A 2008 Pentagon document, posted on WikiLeaks, said evidence indicated the uranium was intended for a nuclear device. He also was determined to be a weapons smuggler; he had been at Guantanamo since 2003.
Ghani was accused of being part of a dangerous Taliban militia unit that plotted kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces. According to a 2008 military document, he admitted taking part in one rocket attack against U.S. forces. He was accused of helping plant landmines and other explosives for attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, and providing rockets to others for attacks on U.S. forces.
Khi Ali Gul
Gul originally fought against the Russians in the 1980s and later went on to be an intelligence chief for the Taliban regime. He allegedly helped plan a 2002 rocket attack against a coalition base in Afghanistan and was accused of involvement in other plots.
Khan was accused of being involved with a group aligned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Informants claimed the cell he was involved with was behind planned attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The dossiers for the detainees released to Uruguay are along similar lines. One, Ali Husein Shaaban, allegedly participated in “hostilities” against U.S./coalition forces in Usama bin Laden’s Tora Bora complex. Documents also say he got suicide operations training from a bin Laden associate.
Other detainees released to the South American country have similar rap sheets.
The backgrounds of the five Taliban commanders released in exchange for Bergdahl were detailed earlier this year. Among them is Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban’s deputy minister of intelligence. He reportedly used his office to support Al Qaeda “and to assist Taliban personnel elude capture.”
Another, Mullah Mohammad Fazi, was a former deputy defense minister for the Taliban. He is also wanted by the United Nations on war crimes for the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.
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