Pentagon spokesman portrays Guantanamo recidivism as a good thing

Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim

Yesterday, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby cast a positive light on jihadists from the Taliban and al Qaeda who have been released from Guantanamo and have returned to wage jihad. The topic came up in the discussion of an airstrike that killed Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, a senior Taliban commander who was detained at Guantanamo from 2001 to 2007, released to Afghan custody and freed in 2009, and returned to the Taliban shortly afterward to assume the role of a senior military commander up until his defection to the Islamic State earlier this year. Below is the exchange, from the Pentagon’s transcript:

Q: Why was he released?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Joe, I don’t have the records on this guy from — from Guantanamo Bay.

Yes, he was a detainee. He was released in 2007. He was released to Kabul.

The other thing that we’ve said — and this is another great example, because we had a long, you know, discussion not too long ago about the — the recidivism and particularly the issue of this — this one individual who reengaged there in Qatar, and we said that they return to the battlefield and to the fight at their own peril. Mr. Kadim is proof of that.

Kirby’s statement that Khadim’s death should be viewed as a positive is cold comfort to the hundreds of Afghans, Americans, and Coalition personnel who were killed while Khadim commanded forces in southern Afghanistan. The jihadist was able to operate for more than six years as a top level Taliban commander and has the blood of thousands on his hands…

Note: LJW, Feb 9, 2015: US kills Islamic State’s deputy emir for ‘Khorasan province’ in airstrike: report