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US hands over Afghan Guantanamo detainee to Taliban

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The United States has released an Afghan national, Assadullah Haroon, detained in the Guantanamo prison and handed him over to the Taliban government in Kabul, said a statement by Zabihullah Mujahid on Friday.

Mujahid, an official spokesperson of the Taliban regime, said the detainee was released as a result of the “efforts of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [IEA] and its direct and positive interaction with the United States”.

“IEA considers this as its duty to release Afghans detained in other countries and strives to ensure that no Afghan remains oppressed in any country of the world,” the statement said, adding, “We are currently in contact with some of the countries where Afghans have been detained and efforts are underway to release them soon.”

The Taliban spokesperson thanked Qatar for “paving the ground” in the release of the prisoner.

“As a result of IEA’s efforts, today, we are witnessing the release of Assadullah Haroon from Guantanamo prison and his reunion with his family years later,” it added.

Read Pakistani Guantanamo detainee sentenced to 26 years after detailing CIA torture

The prison has drawn worldwide condemnation for holding large numbers of prisoners without charging them or holding trials. Its population peaked at about 800 inmates, then declined sharply during the 2009-2017 Obama administration. At least 37 detainees remained at Guantanamo Bay, as per a statement by the US Defence Department in April.

Of those, 18 were eligible for transfer, seven are eligible for a Periodic Review Board, 10 were involved in the military commissions process, and two detainees had been convicted in military commissions.

Last month, Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani said the Taliban regime wanted good ties with Washington but Kabul had reservations about the intentions of the US based on its conduct.

The Taliban leader made these remarks during an interview on CNN. In response to a question on whether the Afghan government considered the US an enemy, he had said the Taliban did not consider the US as an “enemy” and they were committed to the Doha accord.

“I would like to make a small clarification. The period of the last 20 years was a situation of defensive fighting and war. When the agreement was made in Doha, we decided that we would not be talking about this. In the future we would like to have good relations with the United States and the international community,” he had said.



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