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Former Gitmo detainees in key positions in Kabul

Two former high-profile detainees at the American prison in Guantanamo Bay have taken over the security structure of Afghanistan, which was under the Haqqani Network after the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15.

Mullah Fazel and Abdul Haq Wasiq, who spent 14 years each in prison, have been given key intelligence and security responsibilities by Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Baradar, who reportedly had disagreed with the September 5 visit of the ISI chief to Kabul.

In an order issued on Wednesday, Mullah Fazel was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Defence and Wasiq the Director of Intelligence of the Taliban administration.

Released by Obama

Mullah Fazel will work with Defence Minister Mullah Yaqub, said an Afghan source familiar with the changes. Mullah Yaqub is the son of the Taliban founder, Mullah Omar.

Both Fazel and Wasiq were released in 2014 by the Obama administration as part of an exchange deal with the Taliban in which a group of five powerful Taliban figures, known as the “Gitmo-5”, were sent back to Afghanistan. The two were accused of atrocities during the previous Taliban rule and the war with the U.S., but got involved in the dialogue with the United States upon their return.

Wasiq was the deputy intelligence chief and Fazel the head of the army during the Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001.

Apart from these two, Sadar Ibrahim, who was a friend of Mullah Omar, has been made the Senior Deputy Interior Minister. Ibrahim is known to be anti-Pakistan and his appointment is seen aimed at checking Pakistan’s influence.

He was close to the former Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, who was killed in a drone attack inside Pakistan while returning from Iran in May 2016.

Ibrahim reportedly avoided Pakistani contacts after the assassination of Mansour. He had earlier spent several years in the custody of the ISI.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:19:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/former-gitmo-detainees-in-key-positions-in-kabul/article36639356.ece

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