Thomas Joscelyn reports that a former Gitmo detainee, Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, has become the Taliban’s chief operations officer in southern Afghanistan, where violence has been spiking in the last year. In response to that spike, thousands of U.S. troops are preparing to deploy to southern Afghanistan. Their task will be all the more dangerous because, according to The Times (UK), Rasoul is “responsible for increasingly sophisticated explosives attacks on British soldiers in Afghanistan.”
As a detainee, Rasoul went before a military tribunal. He presented the familiar litany of ridiculous defenses. Though captured in the car of a Taliban leader while holding a gun, he claimed he was forced to carry the gun. Rasoul reportedly also possessed two Casio watches similar to those used in al-Qaida bombings. He claimed he was holding the watches for a Taliban member who lacked pockets. Rasoul also said he was the victim of unscrupulous bounty hunters.
As for the future, Rasoul assured the tribunal that he intended to return to a peaceful life in Afghanistan. “I want to go back home and join my family and work in my land and help my family,” he said. Nor did Rasoul harbor any ill-will towards the U.S. Asked whether he “liked what the United States is doing in Afghanistan now,” Rasoul responded: “Yes, I am very happy. I am very pleased like I told you before. They are [re]building my country.” “I [have] never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be,” he added.
Rasoul is hardly the only Gitmo alum to return to the jihad. A June 2008 DOD report noted that 37 former detainees had “returned to terrorism.” More recently, according to Joscelyn, a Pentagon spokesman estimated that more than 60 former detainees are suspected or confirmed of having rejoined the terror network after leaving GuantÃ¡namo.
One of them is Mohammed Naim Farouq. Released in 2003, he reportedly was listed by the Pentagon as one of the 20 most wanted terrorists operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
When he runs into Rasoul, the two can have a good laugh at the criminal stupidity of the country that released them.