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`Former Gitmo detainee running Afghan battles`

Last Updated: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 16:10

Lashkar Gah: A man freed from Guantanamo more than two years ago after he claimed he only wanted to go home and help his family is now a senior commander running Taliban resistance to the US-led offensive in southern Afghanistan, two senior Afghan intelligence officials say.
Abdul Qayyum is also seen as a leading candidate to be the next No 2 in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, said the officials, interviewed last week by The Associated Press.

The story of Abdul Qayyum could add to the complications President Barack Obama is facing in fulfilling his pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo by sending some prisoners back to their home countries or to other willing nations, while putting others on trial.

US intelligence asserts that 20 percent of suspects released from the Guantanamo Bay prison have returned to the fight and the number has been steadily increasing.

Qayyum`s key aide in plotting attacks on Afghan and international forces is another former Guantanamo prisoner, said the Afghan intelligence officials as well as a former Helmand governor, Sher Mohammed Akundzada. Abdul Rauf, who told his US interrogators he had only loose connections to the Taliban, spent time in an Afghan jail before being freed last year.

He rejoined the Taliban, they said. Akundzada said he warned authorities against releasing both him and Qayyum.


First Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 16:10

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