Obama Releases Bin Laden’s Bodyguard From Gitmo

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

The Obama administration released Guantanamo bay detainee, Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab,  despite a review board’s recommendation that he remain in United States custody.

Wahab was reportedly a bodyguard to Al Qaida leader Usama Bin-Laden and had a relationship with the former head of Al Qaida’s global operations, Nasir al Wuhayshi. The review board feared Wahab would return to the battlefield after spending his time in Afghanistan with Bin Laden, “fighting on the frontlines, [his] possible selection for a hijacking plot, and significant training.”

U.S. authorities concluded that he continued lying to his interrogators as late as 2008, insisting he traveled to Afghanistan to “teach the Koran.” A leaked U.S. military report assessed all of Wahab’s statements “to be false” and found he was employing evasion strategies used by other trained terrorists.

The report further noted Wahab’s “ties to a relative who is a possible extremist, raises concerns about his susceptibility to reengagement.” While Wahab is being released to Montenegro his future incarceration is no longer at the discretion of the United States government. Guantanamo Bay detainees have returned to the battlefield in the past, setting a troubling precedent.

In 2007 the U.S. released Taliban commander Abdul Qayyum Zakir from Guantanamo Bay to the government of Afghanistan. Zakir was subsequently released from Afghan prison for no apparent reason whatsoever and returned to the Afghan battlefield as a senior commander.

Zakir has since spent his time in Afghanistan masterminding plots to kill US soldiers in southern Helmand province, and reportedly makes millions of dollars in the illicit opium trade. Zakir is currently spearheading the successful Taliban advance against the Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand province, pacified by U.S. troops as late as 2012.

Despite significant ties to known high profile terrorists Wahab will be granted asylum in Montenegro for “re-socialization” and “a return to his family.” When Montenegro accepted another Yemeni detainee in January 2016 it specified the detainee would not required to remain in the country but would “eventually be free to choose the country they want to live in.”

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