Mullah Shahzada

Shahzada (Guantanamo captive 952)

Haji Shahzada is a citizen of Afghanistan, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba. Shahzada's Guantanamo Internee Security Number is 952. Joint Task Force Guantanamo counter-terrorism analysts estimate that Shahzada was born in 1959, in Belanday, Afghanistan.

Guantanamo detainee Abdullah Khan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal dossier contains a letter from Shahzada. Khan was arrested while he was a guest of Shahzada.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct a competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants -- rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Haji Shah Zada's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 12 January 2005. The memo listed the following allegations against him:

'''a. The detainee is associated with al Qaida and the Taliban.
#The detainee was identified as working for the police force in Kabul, Afghanistan.
#The detainee employed an associate as an Intelligence Agent.
#The Intelligence Agent was arrested for his involvement with the detainee.
#A former commander at Bagram, Shindand and Kandahar airfields, Abdullah Khan, also known as Kheirullah , visited with the detainee at his residence.
#Abdullah Khan is alleged to have been a Taliban Airfield Commander.
#Kheirullah was visiting to coordinate weapons movement for future operations against U.S./coalition forces and the current government.
#Abdullah Khan commanded a group who planned an attack against United States forces.
#The detainee was captured with Abdullah Khan at the detainee's residence along with two others on January 29, 2003, where they were reportedly plotting attacks against the U.S. and coalition forces.

Transcript

Shahzada chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. On March 3 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a nine page summarized transcripts from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Testimony

Shahzada denied ever working for the Army or ever working for the Police. He denied having anything to do with spying or anything to do with the Taliban. He said that he was briefly imprisoned for failing to help the Taliban conscript men from his region.

Shahzada gave a detailed history of his relationship with the two other men captured the night he was captured.

Nasrullah was a local man who had been his friend for decades. Nasrullah had been a friend of his two brothers, who died during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After their deaths he said he felt as close to Nasrullah as if they were brothers. Nasrullah is a member of Tajik ethnic group, who lived in a small enclave of Tajiks. He was a Shiite moslem, surrounded by Sunni moslems. As such he was very unlikely to have been trusted by the narrow minded, racist Taliban.

Abdullah Khan had worked for him one harvest season, when he was a young man. Several decades later he ran into him at an illegal dog-fighting pit. Like himself it turned out that Khan was a dog fancier. Khan generously gave him a beautiful dog. Shahzada told Khan if he was ever in his area, he should come stay with him. The visit the night before their capture was that visit, the second time he had seen Khan in twenty years. Khan had come to the market. And when the day after the night were he, Khan and Nasrullah had played cards it was raining, he encouraged him to stay another day.

That night Afghan forces, lead by a personal enemy of his, came to capture him. Shahzada blamed his enemy for denouncing him and his guests with false allegations. Shahzada mentioned the $5,000 bounty the Americans paid to those who denounced men they said were members of the Taliban or al Qaeda.

Shahzada suggested that being a dog fancier would have precluded the Taliban trusting Khan, as they didn't approve of dog ownership, and arranging dog fighting was illegal.

Shahzada said that during all his interrogations his interrogators kept insisting that Abdullah Khan was also Khirullah Khairkhwa. They kept insisting this even though he told them that the real Khirullah Khairkhwa was captured a year before him and his friends, and was over in the other camp. It was only when he was presented with the allegations against him in the Summary of Evidence that was going to be presented to the Tribunal that he was told his friend was Kheirullah, not Khirullah Khairkhwa.

Determined not to have been an Enemy Combatant

The Washington Post reports that Shahzada was one of 38 detainees who was determined not to have been an enemy combatant during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. They report that Shahzada has been released. The Department of Defense refers to these men as No Longer Enemy Combatants.

False reports that Shahzada returned to the battlefield

Various sources falsely reported in 2004 that a Mullah Shahzada, a Taliban field commander, convinced the Americans he had renounced violence, and was released in May 2003. Those reports say that Mullah Shahzada was killed or captured shortly after his release and return to the battlefield. The real Shahzada was only captured in 2003, and would have been released in 2005. The official list of detainees only lists a single Shahzada.

References

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