Rasul Kudayev, was recently detained by Russian security forces for his part in
planning attacks on police in the Kabardino-Balkariya region in the Northern
Caucasus (the most famous hotbed of Islamist violence is in Chechnya), which
killed 45 people (not counting the 94 attackers). This detainee was captured in
Afghanistan in October, 2001, and was released in 2004.
This is not the first time releasing an al-Qaeda member has come back to haunt
the world. In 2001, an Iraqi member of al-Qaeda by the name of Ahmed Hikmat
Shakir was captured in Qatar. A search turned up contact information for the
safehouses used in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and information
on Project Bojinka, an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a dozen airliners in 1995.
Shakir had also attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit where the attacks of
September 11, 2001 were planned (he was working as a greeter at the Kuala
Lampur airport - a job acquired through the Iraqi embassy), was released
shortly afterwards, and was recaptured in Jordan and interrogated. After
pressure from Amnesty International, he was released, and fled to Baghdad.
This is something often ignored in the media, which has pushed the "prisoner
abuse" issue at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq (most notably the Abu Ghraib
scandal). Human rights groups will probably not discuss the 45 deaths that a
former detainee is responsible for, nor will they even admit that there is
another side to the issue of detainees. Kudayev is not the first detainee who
has resumed fighting for al-Qaeda after being released. The Department of
Defense is aware of at least a dozen others who have been re-captured, having
re-joined al-Qaeda in its fight against coalition forces in the war on terror.
This places the people running Guantanamo Bay in a conundrum. On one hand, they
get flak from human rights groups and the media over the rights of detainees
captured while engaged in hostilities against coalition forces in the war on
terror. On the other hand, when detainees resume fighting for al-Qaeda, there
is a chance coalition troops will be killed, and that will often lead to
criticism for letting the detainee go - sometimes from the same people who
criticized the existence of the camps at Guantanamo Bay in the first place. The
case of Rasul Kudayev will not be the last time that a detainee will re-join
al-Qaeda. The only question is when the next situation will occur. - Harold C.
A former detainee at Guantanamo Bay,