Hours after releasing a Mauritanian prisoner, the Pentagon disclosed Monday that the Guantánamo parole board has approved the release of an Afghan man — meaning 20 of the last 60 captives can leave with security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Former Afghan money changer Haji Wali Muhammad, 51, may have handled funds for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, according to the Periodic Review Board decision to clear him. But, “the detainee's business connections and associations with al-Qaida and the Taliban pre-date 9/11 and appear to have ended.”
Latest decision means that 20 of Guantánamo’s 60 captives are cleared to go with security agreements.
He has been held at Guantánamo for more than 14 years, and has never been charged with a crime.
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The board added that the detainee “does not appear to be motivated by extremist ideologies,” and any threat he might present to the United States or its allies “can be adequately mitigated.” Moreover, an intelligence profile of him prepared for the board in March noted that the Afghan prisoner “has provided information on camp dynamics as well as on his fellow detainees.”
It is not known when any of the 20 cleared detainees might go; a U.S. official with knowledge of the transfer process said there are currently no 30-day notices at Congress.
The parole panel also declared Pakistani captive Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani, too dangerous to release, making him the 25th Periodic Review Board-approved indefinite detainee, or “forever prisoner.”
See the Miami Herald’s guide to the Periodic Review Board process, and decisions.
The board said Rabbani helped arrange travel and finances for former CIA captives Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, two Guantánamo prisoners facing death-penalty proceedings at the war court as the alleged architects of the Sept. 11 and USS Cole attacks, respectively.
Rabbani’s brother Abdul Rahim was similarly reviewed and the board upheld his indefinite detention status in August. A 2009 federal task force recommended that the Rabbani brothers be considered for possible trial by federal or military court. But neither has ever been charged with a crime.