As President Obama frees droves of terrorists—including five Yemenis this week—from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo news reports confirm that a Gitmo alum who once led a Taliban unit has established the first Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) base in Afghanistan.
His name is Mullah Abdul Rauf and international and domestic media reports say he’s operating in Helmand province, actively recruiting fighters for ISIS. Citing local sources, a British newspaper writes that Rauf set up a base and is offering good wages to anyone willing to fight for the Islamic State. Rauf was a corps commander during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports. After getting captured by U.S. forces, he was sent to Gitmo in southeast Cuba but was released in 2007.
Rauf’s Department of Defense Joint Task Force Guantanamo file describes him as being closely associated with several senior level Taliban commanders and leaders. It also says that Rauf admitted involvement in the production and sales of opium as well as associations with criminal elements within the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. From the file: “Due to recent findings that detainee may have had a more important role within the Taliban than previously thought detainee’s intelligence value has been updated from low to medium due to his possible knowledge of: (1) Taliban leadership, (2) Taliban command and control.”
Rauf is one of a number of Gitmo terrorists who have returned to the fight after getting released, yet Obama continues freeing captives to keep his campaign promise of closing the prison. Just this week he let four Yemenis go, despite the risk that they will likely join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based terror group that claimed responsibility for last week’s attack in France. In fact, dozens of freed Gitmo detainees have rejoined Al Qaeda in Yemen, the country where the 2009 Christmas Day airline bomber proudly trained. In 2010 Judicial Watch reported that a number of high-ranking Al Qaeda militants in Yemen—once held at Gitmo—may have been involved in a sophisticated scheme to send bombs on a U.S.-bound cargo plane.
Just a few weeks ago JW uncovered an embarrassing gaffe involving an Al Qaeda operative liberated from Gitmo years ago. Turns out the U.S. government has now put him on a global terrorist list and offered $5 million for information on his whereabouts! That disturbing news came during a week when Obama freed four more longtime Gitmo captives to Afghanistan. Shutting the compound down will be tough because it still houses about 120 of the world’s most dangerous jihadists, including 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Since the Guantanamo military tribunals commenced in 2008, JW has traveled regularly to the Naval base in Cuba to monitor and report them to the public. Over the last few years JW has covered various hearings and proceedings involving al-Nashiri, KSM, Binalshibh, Ali, and Hawsawi. Each time JW representatives have witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers and judges as well as the topnotch civilian attorneys (financed by American taxpayers) vigorously defending every one of the terrorists being tried.