The Biden administration has released from Guantanamo Bay a high-profile member of al Qaeda who was a direct subordinate of the terrorist group’s senior planner of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Two other members, who worked for the group during the 9/11 attacks, are set for release as well, as reported by NBC News.
During the height of the furor over the Chinese spy balloon on U.S. soil, the Biden administration released Majid Khan from Guantanamo Bay to Belize, after reaching out to about a dozen countries to find a residence for the convicted terrorist. Federal law does not allow Guantanamo Bay detainees to be resettled in the U.S.
Khan was Guantanamo Bay’s only legal U.S. resident; he gained asylum in 1998. In 2002, Khan returned to Pakistan and joined al Qaeda, becoming a direct subordinate to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is known as al Qaeda’s senior operational planner and architect of 9/11.
Khan was tasked by KSM to deliver money and transfer other senior al Qaeda officials to carry out terrorist attacks, specifically on a Marriot Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2003. That bombing killed 12 and injured 150.
Khan was arrested in Karachi in March 2003 and subsequently announced as one of 14 “high value detainees” by President George W. Bush in 2006. In 2012, he pled guilty to terrorism-related charges and served ten years.
Two brothers who are also members of al Qaeda are set to be released in the weeks following Khan’s placement.
Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani worked for 9/11 architect KSM from 1999 until his arrest in September 2002. Younger brother Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani joined al Qaeda in 1998 but was kicked out of training camp for smoking. He returned to Karachi, Pakistan, to operate safe houses for the organization.
The younger brother would move fighters from Afghanistan to Pakistan, transporting money, documents, and equipment. Despite working for the terrorist leader as well, he is not known to have participated in operational planning. Also arrested in 2002, both brothers were detained at a CIA black site where infamous stories of torture were reported.
According to NBC News, just 34 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, which held around 660 at its peak capacity.
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