Mon 12 February 2024:
Two former Guantanamo Bay prison inmates returned to their home country, Afghanistan, from Oman on Monday, local media reported.
The two Afghan nationals, Mullah Abdul Zahir Saber and Abdul Kareem, who had been arrested in 2002, were released from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in 2017, and shifted to an unspecified locality in Oman, where they remained under house arrest, said Mufti Abdul Mateen, spokesman of Afghanistan’s interim Interior Ministry.
Saber, who was originally from the province of Logar, was arrested by American forces on May 10, 2002, Qani said. In October that year, after four months in Bagram prison just outside Kabul, Saber was transferred to Guantanamo.
“As a result of the efforts of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, after many years in prison and imposed restrictions will be removed, he will return to his homeland,” said Taliban interior ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani.
Karim, a resident of Tani district of Khost province, in the east, was arrested in Pakistan on Aug. 14, 2002. After a few months in prison there, he was handed over to American forces.
He was moved to Guantanamo in early 2003 and then to Oman in 2017.
“With the grace of God and efforts by the leaders of the Islamic Emirate, he has returned to the country,” Zahir’s son Mohammad Osman said, referring to Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities.
US authorities faced accusations of torture and abuse against prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility, where many were held without charge or the legal power to challenge their detention.
Most of the military prison’s inmates have been released over the years, including senior Taliban leaders.
“I am very happy. When I woke up in the morning, I felt like it was Eid for me,” said Osman.
Two ex-prisoners released from the U.S.-run Guantanamo prison get off a plane in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 12, 2024. The last two Afghan prisoners who had been in the U.S.-run Guantanamo prison for years were set free and returned to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Monday, the state-run Bakhtar news agency reported. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)
A picture released by several local media outlets showed the two ex-inmates, donned in white shalwar-kameez (loose trouser and shirt) and sporting black turbans, coming out of an airplane at the Kabul airport.
US-led foreign forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and quickly ousted the then Taliban regime, following 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Two Afghan detainees of Guantanamo Bay have finally returned to Afghanistan after 22 years. Abdul Zahir Saber and Abdul Karim were unlawfully imprisoned without trial in 2002. In 2014, they were transferred to Oman as prisoners. Today they finally back to their home country. pic.twitter.com/EvvWWl0z4G
— Sangar Paykhar – سنګر پیکار (@paykhar) February 12, 2024
The United States opened the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, under President George W. Bush in January 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan to capture al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. It was intended at the time to hold and interrogate those suspected of having links to al-Qaida or the Taliban, who had sheltered bin Laden.
However, scores of suspects from multiple countries were later sent there and the detention center became notorious after reports emerged of detainees being humiliated and tortured.
After fighting their longest war in recent history, the US forces pulled out of Afghanistan days before the Taliban re-captured Kabul in August 2021.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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