London/Kabul, Mar.12 (ANI): A Taleban commander and a former detainee at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, who was released from prison in Kabul last year, has warned that he will target British troops deployed in Afghanistan.
According to The Times, Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, who spent six years inside GITMO, has resurfaced as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, the Taleban's new operations chief in Helmand and the architect of a new offensive against British troops.Since he took over, the "asymmetric" threat from the Taleban has risen dramatically, with greater numbers of more sophisticated and powerful roadside bombs used against British troops.
"He is a serious player," the paper quoted one Whitehall official, as saying.
Although Rasoul was released from Guantánamo after convincing interrogators that he had never held military command, Taleban officials told The Times that he had been a high-ranking commander close to the Taleban's supreme leader, Mullah Omar.The disclosure will complicate further President Obama's efforts to persuade countries to take in Guantánamo detainees and allow him to close the camp within a year as promised.
Rasoul was captured in the chaos of the Taleban surrender at Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, in December 2001. He was in the lead car of a convoy of senior Taleban leaders, carrying a Kalashnikov and two Casio watches later identified as key components of homemade bombs.
Rasoul denied that the watches were his, but it now appears likely that they were evidence of his expertise in bomb making.British officials believe that he is the mastermind behind the deadly surge in roadside bombings in Helmand since spring 2008, when he was released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison, Kabul.
Forty-four British troops have been killed in roadside bombings since 2008 and 18 in direct exchanges of fire.
In 2007 15 Service personnel were killed by bombs and 15 in direct fire.British officials and Taleban sources said that Rasoul was believed to be based in Quetta, Pakistan. (ANI)