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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