Book 'em Danno
The Telegraph News says: "US outraged as Pakistan frees Taliban fighters"
Pakistan's credibility as a leading ally in the war on terrorism was called into question last night when it emerged that President Pervez Musharraf's government had authorised the release from jail of thousands of Taliban fighters caught fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The mass release of the prisoners has provoked a stern rebuke to the Musharraf regime from the American government. "We have repeatedly warned Pakistan over arresting and then releasing suspects," said a US diplomat in Islamabad. "We are monitoring their response with great concern."
The Daily Telegraph tracked down and interviewed several former fighters who were part of a batch of eight foreign prisoners released last month. Burhan Ahmad, a 32-year-old Bangladeshi who has an American degree in engineering, admitted helping the Taliban against US-led forces in Afghanistan five years ago. He was arrested by Pakistani security agents as he passed back over the frontier in 2003. Last month he was released from jail, where he spent three years without facing trial. Like thousands of other Taliban and al-Qa'eda suspects who have been rounded up in Pakistan, Ahmad is now being fed and sheltered by an Islamic welfare group as he waits while a travel agency that specialises in repatriating jihadis prepares his identity papers and air ticket.
Bill Roggio says, look who's on the list. "But beyond the three low level operatives interviewed are a host of senior and mid level al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives. A sample of those released included the following individuals, including the killers of journalist Daniel Pearl:"
Ghulam Mustafa: "He was once close to Osama bin Laden, has intimate knowledge of al-Qaeda's logistics and financing and its nexus with the military in Pakistan."
Maulana Sufi Mohammad: Sufi Mohammad organized Pakistanis to fight jihad in Afghanistan and along with the TNSM fought in Kunduz November of 2001.
Mohammad Khaled: A brigade leader who led the Taliban in against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "
Fazl-e-Raziq: A senior aide to Osama bin Laden.
Khairullah Kherkhawa: The former Taliban governor of Herat.
Khalid Khawaja: "Khalid Khawaja is a retired squadron leader of the Pakistan Air Force who was an official in Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, in the mid 1980s. ... Khalid Khawaja’s name resurfaced when US reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and subsequently killed. Pearl had come to Pakistan and met Khalid Khawaja in order to investigate the jihadi network of revered sufi, Syed Mubarak Ali Gailani."
Mansour Hasnain: A member of the group that kidnapped and murdered Danny Pearl.
Mohammad Hashim Qadeer: "Suspected of being one of [Daniel] Pearl’s actual killers, was arrested in August 2005 and has notable al-Qaida links" and "ties with the banned extremist groups Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen and Jaish-e-Muhammad."
Mohammad Bashir: Another Pakistani complicit in the murder of Daniel Pearl.
Aamni Ahmad, Hala Ahmad and Nooran Abdu: Facilitators/couriers, and wives of al-Qaeda members.
Gul Ahmed Shami & Hamid Noor: Al-Qaeda foot soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. "I want to be the next Osama bin Laden," said Shami in 2001.
These “miscreants” and “foreigners” are said to be streaming back to al-Qaeda's new safe haven of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and reconstituting al-Qaeda's organization.
Some of these individuals may never have been charged or prosecuted in a way that would satisfy "International Law". By that standard, they should be released. Grant the premise, grant the conclusion. What I want to know is how this prisoner release is different in principle from the policy advocated by critics of Guantanamo prison. I am sure there must be some difference. But the question remains. How should prisoners captured on the terrorist battlefield be treated and how long should they be detained?