The Pentagon announced over the weekend that four more Guantanamo detainees have been transferred out of the prison facility, this time to Afghanistan.
Shawali Khan is an Afghan who was captured in 2002 with an al-Qaeda training manual that included a plan to kidnap the American president. A 2008 Defense Department report on Khan states that he “would probably seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities” if not released with rehabilitation and close supervision.
While at Guantanamo, the report said, Khan threatened to kill a guard’s family and indicated “continued support for anti-Coalition elements in Afghanistan.”
Khi Ali Gul, who was captured by Afghan forces in 2002, received a similar recidivism assessment, with the DoD report noting that while at Gitmo his brother has been fighting with the Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
Abdul Ghani, also arrested by Afghans in 2002, was involved in a rocket attack on U.S. forces in Kandahar and a history of involvement with terrorist groups. A 2008 report said he had a history of verbal and physical assaults against Gitmo staff and has maintained contact with the Taliban.
Mohammed Zahir was a weapons dealer reportedly supplying the Taliban when he was captured at his compound in 2003. A 2008 DoD report found him to be a “veteran high-level member of the Taliban Intelligence Directorate.”
Zahir was peddling not just Stinger missiles, but uranium “intended for use in a nuclear device.”
“As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force,” the Pentagon said.
“In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States’ intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.”
Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that the men won’t be incarcerated but “handed over to their families.”
“They should not have spent 12 or 13 years in prison,” Said Akbar Agha, a former leader of the Taliban, told the news network. “These men should not have been imprisoned, and should not have lived in fear; the government of Afghanistan is responsible and should be held accountable.”
The population of Guantanamo detainees is now down to 132. Eight of the remaining detainees are Afghan.
Earlier this month, six detainees at Guantanamo Bay were shipped to Uruguay.
The transfer followed last month’s relocation of detainees to Slovakia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) charged Sunday on CNN that President Obama “continues to violate the law” in his rush to close Guantanamo Bay.
“He did in the Bergdahl case, which required notification of Congress. He just did on Cuba, that he continues to act in the most imperial fashion. And this was the president who ran on an open and transparent presidency,” McCain said.
“…I always wanted to close Guantanamo, but I wanted to transfer those prisoners to maximum security prisons, prisons in the United States of America. That the president has never had a plan for that — and he didn’t mention to you that some 27 percent or 30 percent of these people we have released have reentered the fight. It’s outrageous to release people that are going to reenter the fight and try to kill Americans and attack America.”