Freed Gitmo detainees rejoining Taliban: Congressman
Chicago: Freed Guantanamo Bay detainees are becoming the "hardest" and most dedicated Taliban fighters "rejoining jihad against the US”, a Congressman has said.
Speaking at the city's Union League Club, Republican Representative from Illinois Mark Kirk said he would urge the Obama administration to stop all further releases from the detention centre in Cuba because otherwise "they enter our battlespace".
Kirk is running in the February 2 Republican primary for President Barack Obama's old US Senate seat.
Freed Gitmo detainees "become the most hardest and dedicated Taliban fighters rejoining jihad against the US. All of the major leaders of the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan are former Gitmo releasees," he said.
Because of their Gitmo credential, they are immediately becoming leaders, the Congressman said.
"The leaders of the Taliban on the military side are all Guantanamo Bay releases, led by a man named Mullah Zakir who was released from Gitmo in 2007. I think it is unwise to release anyone else from Gitmo because we are seeing these people directly enter the fight," Kirk, who has just returned from Afghanistan after his holiday deployment there, said.
An US Naval Reserve Intelligence officer, Kirk said NATO Major General Michael Flynn told him that not only the people being released from Guantanamo are rejoining jihad against the US, but they are the "hardest nut to crack".
He said 61 former Guantanamo prisoners have returned to fighting against US forces.