Terrorists Get Hero Treatment After Prison Release

More than two decades after their confinement at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, two Afghans were welcomed home as heroes on Monday.

Among hundreds of suspected terrorists apprehended by US troops during the US’s ‘War on Terror,’ the clandestine Cuban jail housed Abdul Karim and Abdul Zahir. Zahir reportedly arrived at the contentious prison in 2002, the year it opened after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, according to Abdul Mateen Qani, a spokesperson for the Afghan Interior Ministry.

Before their transfer to US custody, both individuals had been subject to travel restrictions and monitoring in the Gulf of Oman for seven years. They will be able to return to their own country because the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is working to get the limitations removed. Before the two men’s arrival, a substantial security presence was put in place on Monday morning, and billboards welcoming them back to Afghanistan were put up along the road leading to the airport.

Guantanamo Bay is located on Cuban soil but is subject to US authority; for a long time, the US administration has maintained that it is attempting to lower the prison population and, ultimately, close the facility.

Captured by US troops during operations in Afghanistan, the detention facility was initially intended to hold and question people who were believed to have ties to al-Qaida operatives and their Taliban hosts. The U.S. military jail has been the target of criticism and calls for closure from human rights organizations, who point to allegations of torture, abuse, and lengthy detentions of prisoners, many of whom have never faced charges or trials.

Despite the release of several of the detainees—including high-ranking Taliban officials—one Afghan national, Muhammad Rahim, is still held in Guantanamo Bay.

After years of fighting Taliban terrorists during the invasion of Afghanistan, all U.S.-led coalition troops departed from the nation in August 2021, allowing the Taliban to regain control of Kabul.