Afghans Praise Release of Gitmo List

Staff and agencies
20 April, 2006

By AMIR SHAH, 5 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan - An independent Afghan commission working to free Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay praised on Thursday the release of a list of captives‘ names, including more than 100 Afghans.

Sayeed Sharif Youssefi, a senior official at Afghanistan ‘s peace and reconciliation commission, said the list sheds light on how many Afghans are in the U.S. detention facility in Cuba and who they are.

The commission encourages Taliban militants to lay down weapons and reconcile with the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

The list refers to Guantanamo detainees who passed through the Combatant Status Review Tribunal process in 2004 and 2005 to determine whether they should be deemed "enemy combatants."

Fazil, from the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, led many battles against Northern Alliance forces during the militia‘s rule, including the capture of the northern Kunduz province in the late 1990s. He was arrested there following the U.S.-led in 2001.

Also on the list is Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, chief of police after the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996. He later become interior minister and governor of Herat province, from where he commanded the Taliban‘s military forces in southwestern Afghanistan.

"According to the latest information provided to us by America, 22 Pakistanis are still detained there," he said. "It is a fact that they have been concealing information from us about our people detained at Guantanamo Bay."

Elsewhere, China responded to the release of the list by requesting the United States return Uighur prisoners from western China who are being held in the detention center. Beijing claims the detainees are part of a violent Muslim separatist movement fighting for an independent state called "East Turkestan." The list released Wednesday includes 22 Chinese nationals. The biggest Muslim ethnic group in China are Uighurs but it wasn‘t immediately clear if all the detainees were from that group. U.S. officials say they cannot send the Uighur prisoners back to China because they likely will be tortured or killed.