Grandfather held in Guantanamo dies of cancer

Monday, December 31, 2007

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) reported a fifth Guantanamo captive, named Abdul Razzak, died in captivity, on December 30, 2007.

JTF-GTMO asserted that Razzak had complained of abdominal pains in September 2007, and had begun to receive cancer therapy in late October 2007. JTF-GTMO estimated that he was born in 1939.

According to the JTF-GTMO press release that announced his death:

Abdul Razzak was assessed to be an experienced jihadist with command responsibilities and was assessed to have had multiple links to anti-coalition forces. He was detained in Guantanamo as an enemy combatant, consistent with the international law of Armed Conflict.

Abdul Razzak was one of the few Guantanamo captives who continued to attend his Combatant Status Review Tribunal and his annual Annual Review Board hearings.

Abdul Razzak had disputed all but one of the allegations against him, at each opportunity, and had provided his JTF-GTMO interrogators and the officers who sat on his CSR Tribunal and ARB hearing with easily verifiable corroborated details. At each of his Administrative review the officers were unaware of the exculpatory details he had provided.

The one allegation that Abdul Razzak acknowledged was that he had been subjected to involuntary conscription, and had served the Taliban for three months out of every year for the five years they were in power before he fled Afghanistan. He had, however, not served in the Taliban's armed forces, but had been a truck driver, delivering non-military supplies.

One of the main allegations against Abdul Razzak was that he had plotted to help free Taliban leaders. Abdul Razzak testified that, on the contrary, two years prior to al Qaeda's attacks on September 11th, 2001, he and his son had played a key role in a successful plot to free three imprisoned senior Northern Alliance leaders, who he identified as "Ismail Khan, Haji Zahir, son of vice president Haji Qadir and General Qassim." -- Ismail Khan is currently the Minister of Energy.

Abdul Razzak testified that his son, one of the relatively few Afghans who was fluent in English, had been conscripted by the Taliban, so he could provide some computer support. His son had contacted anti-Taliban forces, secured funds to purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle. His son, using the trust the Taliban had placed in him, due to his computer support, had lead the three men out of their imprisonment. Abdul Razzak had driven the four by four. The vehicle was damaged by a land mine. Abdul Razzak's hand was injured. His son lost a foot. But the Northern Alliance leaders were rescued.

Abdul Razzak testified that when they arrived in Iran the Afghanistan Council paid his living expenses. But, when Hamid Karzai assumed power, following the ouster of the Taliban, he was told that the pension would be discontinued, because Afghanistan now had a democratic government.

Abdul Razzak testified that he then returned to Afghanistan, where he was falsely denounced by a distant cousin named Mohammed Jan. Mohammed Jan's branch of the family was engaged in a feud with his branch, that had lead to the death of his father, two uncles, and three of his sons.

Abdul Razzak was also accused of being a leader of anti-coalition forces, and of being a member of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, an older militia, which was first founded to oppose the regime of Mohammed Daoud Khan, the politician who had ousted Mohammed Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan, in 1973. In 1979 this militia split, and has been lead, since then, by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's militia played a major role in the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This militia acquired a reputation for ruthlessness, and disregard for civilian life.

Abdul Razzak testified that his only contact with the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin militia was early in the war against the Soviets. He testified he was imprisoned for four and a half months in an underground pit. They had captured him because he had served as a driver for a member of the communist regime.

American intelligence analysts assert that, when Osama bin Laden was leaving Sudan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar offered him sanctuary in the areas of Afghanistan under his control.

Although not part of the Northern Alliance the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin militia fought with the Taliban, prior to their ouster. When the USA allied with the Northern Alliance and other resistance forces to oust the Taliban the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin militia fought against the USA. In 2003 the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin formed an alliance with the rump of the Taliban.

Abdul Razzak was also accused of being the Abdul Razak who had been the second in command of the Taliban's 40-man unit, even though witnesses described Abdul Razak the commander as a much younger man, with a full black beard. Americans held five other men in Guantanamo named Abdul Razak.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.