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US repatriates Gitmo prisoner back to Afghanistan after court ruled he was detained unlawfully

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The prisoner, Asadullah Haroon Gul, often known as Haroon Al Afghani, was born in Afghanistan and has been detained within the Guantanamo jail since 2007.

“DOD, supported by different elements of the US authorities, transferred him out of Guantanamo Bay, facilitating his repatriation to his native nation, Afghanistan,” the administration official stated. “He flew on a US plane to Doha after which we labored with the Taliban and the Qatar authorities to facilitate his switch to Kabul.”

In a while Friday the Pentagon confirmed the switch had taken place.

“The Division of Protection introduced right this moment the switch of Asadullah Haroon al-Afghani often known as ‘Gul’ from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to facilitate his repatriation to Afghanistan, his native nation,” the Pentagon stated in a press release.

“The Division of Protection, in coordination with different USG departments, transferred Mr. Gul in accordance with the U.S. District of Columbia’s order granting his Writ of Habeas Corpus, ruling the USA now not has a authorized foundation to justify the continued detention of Mr. Gul,” the assertion added.

The switch additionally comes because the Taliban management within the nation has prevented ladies above sixth grade type going to high school, and because the nation faces an financial and meals disaster that’s anticipated to kill 1000’s.

US diplomats who work on the US workplace for Afghan affairs in Doha engaged with Taliban officers on this subject — which they thought-about an space of mutual curiosity — to determine the logistics of the way to make this work, the official defined. There was not any larger stage engagement with the Taliban required, the official stated.

Late last year, a federal decide dominated that Gul’s detention was illegal and the Periodic Evaluation Board, which is a panel of officers from totally different US nationwide safety businesses, additionally cleared him for switch. These two selections triggered the Biden administration to start engaged on repatriating Gul.

Gul, an Afghan nationwide who grew up largely in a refugee camp in Shamshato, Pakistan, was accused of being a member of an extremist group referred to as Hezb-e-Islami/Gulbuddin, which was referred to as HIG on the time. It has since develop into referred to as Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA). HIA was deemed an “related power” of al Qaeda by the US authorities.

Gul conceded that he had been a member of HIG, now referred to as HIA, on the time, however his protection attorneys argued that the group entered right into a peace treaty with the Afghanistan authorities in 2016.

Gul has been detained at Guantanamo since June 2007.

“A court docket made the choice that we would have liked to maneuver this particular person someplace and essentially the most possible possibility, essentially the most practical possibility is usually going to be repatriation and right here looks as if it might properly show to be repatriation,” stated a supply acquainted with the matter.

Just a few components performed into the administration’s efforts to repatriate Gul to Afghanistan, even whereas the Taliban is at present answerable for the nation. A kind of components: there aren’t any US service member nonetheless in Afghanistan after the US withdrew from the nation final fall.

The Taliban additionally gave assurances to the US authorities that Gul wouldn’t emerge as a risk to the US homeland or to American allies, the US official stated.

“We had conversations about how essential it’s that this particular person doesn’t pose risk to the US or to our allies. We obtained assurances again,” the official stated.

The switch of Gul to Afghanistan comes as tensions between the US and the Taliban stay excessive over Mark Frerichs, a veteran and contractor who was kidnapped in Kabul in late January 2020, is believed to be held by the Haqqani community, which is a detailed affiliate of the Taliban.

“We additionally should discover a option to get Mark dwelling. We’re working diligently on that. We hope there may be excellent news within the weeks to come back on getting him dwelling finally,” the official defined.

The Periodic Evaluation Board, which first decided that Gul must be cleared to depart, is a authorities entity created throughout the Obama administration to find out whether or not detainees being held on the jail had been responsible or not. The Biden administration continues to depend on the board to dictate which prisoners must be despatched dwelling.

With Gul’s switch, 36 detainees stay on the jail, with greater than a dozen cleared for switch.

“They’re going to be continued efforts to do what comes after these suggestions, which is method nations whether or not their nations of origin or the place that is not possible or out there or advisable different nations and search to work out repatriation or switch preparations which might be mutually passable,” the supply acquainted with the matter defined.

CNN’s Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.