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Abdullah Khan is a citizen of Afghanistan who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 950. The Department of Defense estimates he was born in 1956.

Abdullah Khan was transferred to Afghanistan on February 8, 2006.[2]


Khan testified that he was a merchant, from the Northern, Uzbek portion of Afghanistan, who traveled to Southern Kandahar Province in 2003, for the first time since before the Taliban took power. He testified he was threatened, in a Kandahar market place, by locals, who held animosity against him from his earlier visit decades earlier. He felt threatened, so went early to the home of his host Hajji Shahzada.

Khan testified that his host invited another man over for dinner and that they spent the evening playing cards. The next day American forces arrested him, his host, and the other guest, based on a denunciation. Khan believed his enemies had falsely denounce him to the Americans, telling them he was the well-known Taliban Governor Khirullah Khairkhwa. Khan believed his enemies collected a large bounty through the American bounty program.

Khan told his Tribunal that his American interrogators in Afghanistan insisted they knew he was lying about his identity. He told his Tribunal they insisted they knew he was really Khirullah Khairkhwa, and that if he didn't confess they would send him to a worse place.

Khan told his Tribunal that he was sent to Guantanamo. He told his Tribunal that the other captives informed him that Guantanamo already held the real Khirullah Khairkhwa, that the real Khirullah Khairkhwa had been captured more than a year before he was captured.

Khan told his Tribunal that when his Guantanamo interrogators also insisted they knew he was Khirullah Khairkhwa he requested that they check the prison roster, and verify they already held the original Khairkhwa. He told his Tribunal that none of his interrogators checked the prison roster, because they kept leveling the accusation against him that he was Khirullah Khairkhwa.

Khan told his Tribunal that the Summary of Evidence memo prepared for his Tribunal, which had been shown to him just a few days earlier, was the first time the accusation that he was Khirullah Khairkhwa was dropped.

Khan told his Tribunal that the allegations on his Summary of Evidence were brand new to him, that none of the questions his interrogators asked him were related to the allegations.

The main allegations against Khan's host Shahzada, and his fellow guest Nasrullah were that they spent the previous evening with Khirullah Khairkhwa. Shahzada was one of the 38 captives whose Tribunal determined he had not been an enemy combatant after all.Washington Post Khan and Nasrullah's Administrative Review Board hearing recommended their repatriation in 2005.[3][4]

Combatant Status Review Edit

Main article: Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Khan was among the 60% of prisoners who participated in the tribunal hearings.[5] A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Abdullah Khan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on January 5, 2005.[6]

a. The detainee is a member of the Taliban:
  1. The detainee was a Taliban cook for about two and one half months.
  2. The detainee fought for two years in the jihad against the Soviets.
  3. The detainee was in charge of ammunition distribution during the Russian jihad.
b. The detainee participated in military operations against the coalition:
  1. The detainee is alleged to have been a Taliban airfield commander.
  2. The detainee may have information regarding attacks against the United States and coalition forces.
  3. The detainee is suspected of moving weapons.
  4. The detainee discussed plans to conduct attacks against the United States and/or Coalition Forces.
  5. United States Forces arrested the detainee with two other detainees in Kandahar Province.


Khan chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[7] On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published twelve pages of summarized transcripts from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[8] For unexplained reasons the Guantanamo intelligence analysts who managed his case file separated the five pages that recorded the allegations and Khan's response to them from the rest of his testimony.

Response Edit

In response to the allegations:[7]

Administrative Review Board hearingEdit

File:ARB trailer.jpg

Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings.[10] The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".

They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat—or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.

Summary of Evidence memo Edit

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Abdullah Khan's Administrative Review Board.[11]

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Commitment
  1. The detainee fought approximately two years in the jihad against the Russians [sic]. He was responsible for distributing ammunition.
  2. The detainee cooked for the Taliban for approximately two and a half months.
  3. New documentation found on the detainee says he is pro-Taliban. He may have shared this information with other detainees.
  4. The detainee is suspected of moving weapons.
b. Connections/Associations
  1. During the two years the detainee support the jihad against the Russians, his commander was Namatullah Khan.
  2. During the two and a half months the detainee cooked for the Taliban, he worked for Mullah Omar's brother who was one of the Taliban [sic] Commanders.
c. Other Relevant Data
  1. United States Forces arrested the detainee with two other detainees in Kandahar Province.
  2. The detainee believes that Mullah Jan (his enemy) betrayed him for money. When the U.S. announced they would pay money in exchange for a Taliban leader, the detainee believes that Jan told the Afghanistan Army and the U.S. that he was a Taliban leader.
  3. The detainee states that Mullah Nor Jan is from his village. The detainee's family has been enemies with Jan's family for 30 to 40 years. The feud was from years ago when Jan's family killed two of the detainee's uncles over a land dispute.
  4. In the September-October 2001 timefram, a foreign service prepared a list of Arabs and Afghans who were issued visas from the Pakistani Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. The detainee was issued a visa on 15 September 2001.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

a. The detainee denied having any association with the Taliban and denied ever being conscripted by them. After being confronted by the same question about his association with the Taliban, he changed his story and said that he was conscripted by the Taliban and worked as cook [sic]. He said that he did not volunteer and that it was his first and only time he was associated with the Taliban.
b. The detainee claims that members of the Taliban kidnapped him. He informed the unknown Taliban members that he was not familiar with weapons and could not do anything but cook.
c. The detainee stated that he did not receive any military training, to [sic] include firing a gun or using explosive devices, and never fired any weapons throughout the Russian [sic] invasion.
d. The detainee was asked if he had ever worked for the Taliban, killed any coalition soldiers, or participated in the planning of attacks on coalition people. The detainee answered no to all three questions.
e. The detainee claims that after he returned home to his family from serving with the Taliban he decided to move his entire family to Pakistan to avoid the Taliban.
f. The detainee stated that he did not know why he was being arrested. He asked why was being taken away and what his crime was. He was not given an answer.

Recommendations Edit

The recommendations of his Board, to Gordon England, the Designated Civilian Official, were made public on September 4, 2007.[3][4]

The Administrative Review Board's recommendations quote Abdullah Khan's Assisting Military Officers' report from his Enemy Combatant election form that he declined to attend his Tribunal because he did not want to return to Afghanistan—that he wanted to live out the rest of his life in Guantanamo.[3][4]

The recommendations were heavily redacted.[3][4] It is not clear what the Board recommended. The Board's recommendation was unanimous. But the Department of Defense only made public the recommendations of captives who the Designated Civilian Official had cleared for release or transfer from Guantanamo.

Abdullah Khan's Board's recommendations contained three notable unredacted passages:[4]

  • Recruitment. Members of known terrorist organizations or known or suspected terrorist support organizations recruited the EC.
  • (U) Organizational affiliations.. The EC has been a known affiliate of organizations that espouse terrorist and violent acts against the United States and its allies.
  • (U) Behavior. The EC's behavior during interrogation and detention do not indicate that he poses a dangerous threat to the U.S. and its allies.

References Edit

  1. OARDEC (2006-05-15). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. ' [1] The New York Times
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 OARDEC (October 21, 2005). "Administrative Review Board assessment and recommendation for ICO ISN 950". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 75. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 OARDEC (August 25, 2005). "Classified Record of Proceedings and basis for Administrative Review Board decision for ISN 950". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 77–81. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  5. OARDEC, Index to Transcripts of Detainee Testimony and Documents Submitted by Detainees at Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo Between July 2004 and March 2005, September 4, 2007
  6. OARDEC (January 5, 2005). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal - Khan, Abdullah". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 80. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. US releases Guantanamo files [2] April 4, 2006
  9. Review process unprecedented [3] Spc Timothy Book Friday March 10, 2006
  10. OARDEC provides recommendations to Deputy Secretary of Defense [4] Army Sgt. Sarah Stannard October 29, 2007
  11. OARDEC (July 27, 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Khan, Abdullah". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 78–79. Retrieved 2007-10-07.