Thirty of Guantánamo’s war-on-terror prisoners are now approved for release to security arrangements following an interagency parole board’s disclosure Friday that it was clearing an Afghan “forever prisoner.”
Bostan Karim, 46, “expressed support for the Government of Afghanistan, the Constitution of Afghanistan and reconciliation,” the board wrote in a brief statement declaring him approved for transfer to security arrangements that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Karim got to Guantánamo in March 2003 and was presented to the national security parole board as a probable leader of “an al-Qaida-associated improvised explosive device (IED) cell” who “probably planned, directed, or conducted multiple attacks against coalition forces” near Khost, Afghanistan.
The panel concluded he “presents some level of threat in light of his past activities and associations,” but found him to be a well-behaved prisoner across his 13 years at this U.S. Navy base in Cuba.
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It separately decided after 10 months of consideration not to release Salman Rabei’i, 36, a Yemeni who got to the prison on May 1, 2002. The U.S. military said in a 2008 prison profile that he was captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan after the Battle of Tora Bora.
A year-old intelligence assessment warned: “He repeatedly has said that the U.S. in particular and non-Muslims in general are his enemies, and he possibly aspires to reengage in terrorist activities.”
His case was perhaps the longest considered by the board that President Barack Obama ordered set up in 2011 to examine the files of indefinite detainees and war crimes trial candidates who had never been charged. Its even briefer statement declared him “a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”
Ten of the other 50 captives not approved to go are facing war crimes proceedings.
The remainder are divided between 31 awaiting parole board hearings or decisions and nine who have had their “forever prisoner” status upheld by the Periodic Review Board. A Miami Herald chart spells it out.