Guantanamo ‘Recidivist’ Is Hanging Out With Hamid Karzai
Thursday, July 09, 2009 at 9:26 am
There’s no shortage of demagoguery about the Guantanamo Bay detainee cohort, regardless of how many times reason tries to prevail. Among the worst is the dubious and often-recycled claims about inflated numbers of released Guantanamo detainees who’ve “returned” to the battlefield. It’s unwise to take this stuff at face value, and McClatchy’s Nancy Youssef elegantly demonstrates why.
Haji Sahib Rohullah Wakil spends his days going from one high-level official meeting to another with the swagger of a tribal elder, advocating for the needs of Kunar province, his home region.
Each encounter — with President Hamid Karzai, with Karzai’s chief of staff or with one of Afghanistan’s other presidential candidates — begins the same: They thank him for his honorable service to the people of Kunar.
Despite those endorsements, the Pentagon says that Wakil is among 74 former Guantanamo Bay detainees who’ve returned to or are suspected of returning to terrorism after their release from the island prison camp.
Now you can look at this one of two ways. One way is to take the pre-Copernican mindset and reason that Hamid Karzai and the rest of the Afghan political establishment has ties to terrorism. Another is to say that the Pentagon may not really have the best intelligence about who’s actually a “recidivist.” Your call.
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