A former Guantanamo Bay inmate is leading the fight against U.S. Marines in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed to FOX News on Tuesday.
Mullah Zakir, also known as Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, surrendered in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan in 2001, and was transferred to Gitmo in 2006. He was released in late 2007 to Afghan custody.
Now as the United States is pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern province of Afghanistan, Zakir is coordinating the Taliban fighters. Some 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan forces have faced some resistance as they sweep across the province, reclaiming control of districts where Zakir and his comrades were running a shadow government.
Lost in the debate over what to do with those in GITMO is a debate we should be having. That debate is how to make sure that this scene doesn't get repeated any longer. It's unacceptable and frankly self destructive for a country to capture their enemies on the battlefield and then let those enemies go any significant numbers so that they can take up arms again during war.
While President Bush was often criticized for his heavy handed treatment of those in GITMO, he wasn't criticized nearly enough for the large numbers of those he released from GITMO only to have many of those folks take up arms again once released.
Far more of an issue for me than just how many rights those in GITMO is the issue of just how many former residents take up arms against our troops. These stories receive far too little attention. There is far too few criticism of the phenomenon that is again playing out in Afghanistan. It's been nearly eight years since we started the GWOT and yet we still don't seem to learn our lesson. Once we capture the enemy, we must do everything we can to keep them captured for the duration of the war.
Far more than the debate over their rights, the really important debate is how we make sure the scene currently playing out in Afghanistan is the last of its kind.