March 24th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

U.S. officials: Ex-Gitmo prisoner becomes Taliban commander

A man who was released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in December has become a senior Taliban military commander in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

Abdul Qayum Zakir was named to replace Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, whom Pakistani security forces captured last month, a Taliban operative told CNN.

A former Pakistani intelligence official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the subject, also confirmed Zakir's appointment. Zakir was released from U.S. custody on December 7, U.S. officials said.

- CNN's Barbara Starr, Adam Levine and journalist Amin Khan contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Baradar • Taliban
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Guy

    Last time I checked, the US hadn't declared war on anyone.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Colleen

    I find it hard to believe that we can use the words innocent and terrorist in the same sentance. If the man is a terrorist, he is not innocent. Do we have to wait for him to fly one of our commercial airliners into one of our skyscrapers, killing thousands of people before we do something about him? I believe the fact that he is now acting as a leader for the Taliban goes to show he was not an 'innocent terrorist'. . . .As the mother of a US Marine that is currently fighting in Afghanistan, I hope they find him and do what Marines are trained to do. . . .

    March 26, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. TJ

    And we lost 3000 innocent Americans to the terrorist that brought down two of our buildings. I guess that was ok though huh? Quit feeling sorry for the enemies. Anyone see Obozo's new healthcare just gave thousands of jobs to.....INDIA!?

    Lets clean out DC and get people who will stand up for our constitution.

    Oh and dont forget, there were democrats that voted for going to war so its not all on W's shoulders.
    (Dont take this post as a backing of Bush either)

    March 26, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. topper

    we have focused on health care so long we have forgotten about the world threat. we released this guy based on the premise that all men are created equal, civil rights etc when the real issue is these guys are our enemies caught in the field and are prisoners of war. we did not release the pow's we held until after ww2. they had no rights to a trial but we fed them and provided for their basic care. my father supervised pow's during the war. they were treated well but were still our enemies. their is no timetable or standard to measure by. we are at war...they stay in prison. name one nation that releases prisoners while in conflict. even when israel dos it it is usually a "trade".


    March 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Everette O Lemons

    Well, your senseless and utterly ridiculous post is correct on one point Thomas, we did not only burn Japanese people, but we incinerated innocent Japanese school children, twice! The only nation in the world to EVER use nuclear weapons against a civilian population, and children no less. Mentalities like yours is why this country is circling the drain. If you want to burn somebody, go find your real enemy on wall street.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick


    "if he was not the enemy fignting on the battlefield, he wouldn't have ended up in US custody to begin with..."

    Is this the one and only article you've ever about this guy? You've done no other research and have reached a conclusion based upon this one short article. Bet you had some preconcieved notion about this guy based upon his name. Talk about "not thinking right"! That's pretty much what people expect of Americans now... instant experts.

    This guy wasn't captured on a battlefield. In 2001, he "..surrendered to US and Afghan forces in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif..." You could let go of some of that testosterone and start thinking with the head on your shoulders

    Several people have ended-up at Gitmo who have never even SEEN a battlefield. I guess you'd favour them being murdered too. It used to be we followed the law of the land.. that is untill Baby-Bush, Chaney and testosterone hijacked "the ends don't justify the means" and "innocent until proven guilty".

    Now I'm afraid, being an American just doesn't stand for anything. Telling the truth is no longer a reason to look up to Lincoln. To the new right (and their children) the truth is for fools, if it doesn't make you appear macho. We've been pulled down to the level of the people we so hate.

    The Rise and Fall of THIS empire happened all in 200-years. Wow! That's a new world record!


    March 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Thomas

    Agree with solution to kill the enemy on the battlefield. If this was a traditional Nazi or Jap, we would just kill them the old fashioned way. We would use a flamethrower and burn them alive.

    As far as the reasoning that being locked up and provided culturally correct food and a Quran, (not torture), if he was not the enemy fignting on the battlefield, he wouldn't have ended up in US custody to begin with. He obviously wasn't thinking right to begin with. Kinda like you.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TDWalsameise

    I don't know about you, but being locked up and tortured by the forces of a "democratic nation" for years with no represention and no trial would tend to make me want to join ANYBODY who is opposed to that nation and its ideals.

    I'm not saying that this particular guy is an an innocent victim, but there are doubtless dozens of terrorists out there now who were perfectly innocent and never involved in acts of terror before being shipped off to detention in Guantanamo.

    What a way to "win the hearts and minds of the people" in the countries we claim to be saving from the forces of evil. In my opinion we need to practice what we preach before we spread our version of democracy by means of force.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    You guys didn't check your facts. I expect more from CNN news. I would understand if this was FAUX NEWS.

    Abdul Qayum Zakir was indeed released from Gitmo in December, But it was December 2007. He was then released from prison in Afghanistan in the summer of 2008. Both events occured during the W era.

    It seems to me CNN News is starting to take-up sides, instead of reporting the news (fair and balanced) and letting me do my own thinking.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. L.Baksh

    Unfortunately our poor handling of Guantanamo Bay detainees/prisoners will inevitably result in more of this same type of thing.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan Lafayette,IN

    This is why we should kill them on the battlefield otherwise they will be back to fight again!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sternberg

    The Geneva Convention says prisoners will be held for the duration. Never in the history of war has any nation released combatants to return to make targets of our own soldiers.
    Why are we doing this? Are we that lacking in common sense? Or is political correctness more important to America than the lives of its own troops?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |