The Taliban has appointed former Guantanamo Bay detainee mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (aka Abdullah Gulam Rasoul), as acting defense minister, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing Al Jazeera.
“A Taliban commander in the 1990s who was notorious for brutality and summary executions, Qayyum was captured in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and taken to Guantanamo,” the AP wrote at the time. “According to transcripts, he identified himself to his American captors by his father’s name, Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, and said he had been conscripted by the Taliban but left at the first opportunity.”
He was among the first senior Taliban commanders to enter Kabul last week as the group overran the capital amid the U.S. troop exit, and after U.S.-trained national forces largely fled. Until being named as Defense Minister, Qayyum was deputy to the Taliban’s commander-in-chief, Mullah Yaqoob.
He was freed from the notorious U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007, despite being rumored to have been close to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
According to Guantanamo Bay transfer documents, Zakir (who also goes by Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, Abdullah Rasoul and Ghullam Rasoul) was captured in Afghanistan on November 28, 2001, and he arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on January 11, 2002.
Zakir was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay from 2002 to 2007. According to a January 2012 report by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Zakir was transferred to a prison in Afghanistan in December 2007 after a review board determined deemed him to be “no longer a threat.” He claimed during his review board, “I want to go back home and join my family and work in my land and help my family.”
That was a lie.