State Department Admits Former Gitmo Detainee Is Now A Terrorist

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jonah Bennett Contributor
Font Size:

The Department of State said Wednesday it is adding Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, to its list of designated terrorists, after it was revealed Vakhitov may have had ties to the Turkish airport bombing.

That addition has likely come following revelations of Vakhitov’s close connection to the airport bombing in Turkey. The State Department’s release only refers to Vakhitov’s use of “the internet to recruit militants to travel to Syria” and the fact that he’s fought on behalf of Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal Ansar, a jihadi group opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

An analysis by The Long War Journal confirmed Vakhitov was once a Gitmo detainee.

Turkish authorities have arrested 30 people for suspected involvement in the bombing in some capacity. Vakhitov, an ethnic Tatar from Russia, is one of those 30. Turkey believes the airport attack stemmed from Islamic State, though the terror group has made no formal declaration of involvement.

According to Voice of America, Vakhitov was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, after which point he was shipped to Gitmo for a stay of only two years. The U.S. released him to Russia in 2004, as the Joint Task Force Guantanamo concluded he had no ties to al-Qaida and was not a leader in the Taliban. Still, the U.S. assumed he was dangerous enough that upon release to Russia, authorities would keep him imprisoned.

A Russian court found no evidence Vakhitov had terror connections and he was released.

Just a year after he arrived in Russia, however, the Russian Federal Security Service captured and detained him for about two months before letting him go free without charges, prompting Vakhitov to flee for the Middle East and apply for asylum.

In the past, Russian security services have said Vakhitov has fought in Syria and Iraq with terror groups and also apparently recruited and raised funds for these organizations.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

Send tips to

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact