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Biden’s decision on Afghanistan raises Guantanamo questions

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(Last Updated On: April 25, 2021)

US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan is raising questions about what, if any, effect that will have on the future of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

According to The Hill, at least two prisoners who have been challenging their detention have already updated their complaints to include Biden’s withdrawal as a reason they should be released.

But according to some experts while the war on terrorism will continue even after the last U.S. service member leaves Afghanistan, the legal justification for indefinite detention at Guantanamo does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, The Hill reported.

“I think the short answer is that we just don’t know,” Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, said of the withdrawal’s effect on Guantanamo.

“It clearly provides the remaining Guantanamo detainees with a new ground on which to challenge the legal basis for their continuing military detention, and one that is not necessarily foreclosed by existing precedent,” he added in an email.

“But it’s not at all clear that courts will be sympathetic to those arguments, not just because they haven’t been to date, but because the Executive Branch is likely to argue that the conflict with al-Qaeda isn’t ending just because we’re leaving Afghanistan.”

Forty men remain detained at the facility opened by former President George W. Bush after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Six have been cleared for transfer, and seven have been charged in the military commission system, including the five 9/11 suspects.

According to The Hill, the Biden administration is in the midst of reviewing the facility with the intention of closing it, but it remains to be seen whether that effort will be successful.

Amid the administration’s review, Biden is facing pressure to fulfill his promise to close the facility and 24 Senate Democrats penned a letter to Biden last week saying he could close the facility with “sufficient political will and swift action.”

“After years of indefinite detention without charge or trial; a history of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and multiple attempts at a thoroughly failed and discredited military commission process, it is past time to close Guantanamo’s detention facility and end indefinite detention,” read the letter, which was organized by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

When Biden announced earlier this month he was ordering a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, he declared, “It’s time to end the forever war.”

But Alli McCracken Jarrar, North American campaigner for Amnesty International, told The Hill that if Biden is serious about ending the “forever war,” he will close Guantanamo.

“I hope that he can align his timeline to withdraw from Afghanistan with his plan to close Guantanamo,” she said. “It would be wonderful to see the whole detention camp shut down and the men transferred out by September 11. And I think that would make a lot of groups feel happy and would really be a positive sign that he’s committed to his human rights obligations.”

The Hill reported that last week, lawyers for two Guantanamo detainees filed motions for the release of their clients, citing the withdrawal.

One of the two detainees is Asadullah Haroon Gul, an approximately 40-year-old Afghan captured by Afghan forces in 2007. His lawyers argued in a motion seeking their client’s immediate release that the withdrawal takes away any basis to continue holding him.

“The law is clear: Asadullah gets to go home now, regardless of whether, as the government incorrectly contends, he was part of or substantially supported al- Qaeda,” his lawyers wrote in the motion.

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Ashraf Ghani found to have lied countless times during his tenure

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Ashraf Ghani, former president of Afghanistan, has been found to have lied dozens of times during his seven years in office and made as many, if not more, commitments which he failed to keep.

During the inauguration of Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz province in March this year, Ghani said that Afghanistan will export electricity to Pakistan and India within five years.

This was said despite Afghanistan relying heavily on its neighbors for at least 70% of its power.

Afghans on Sunday slammed Ghani and branded him a liar and said one cannot believe a word he said.

According to Afghans, Ghani was a deceptive president.

In another instance, Ghani pledged to stay in his home country and to never leave.

Just weeks before Ghani fled the country he said: “Everyone is going, but I am not going. It is my home and it is my grave.”

The following is a short list of commitments made by Ghani that were not kept.

1- Ghani promised to create one millions jobs, but instead five million lost their jobs.
2- During a trip to Badghis province, Ghani promised to establish an academic college and a technical school in every district. This never happened.

3- He also pledged to allocate and give land to all teachers. Again this never happened.

4- He made promises to supply all districts in the country with electricity. Less than 9% of the rural population have electricity, while 75% of Afghans live in rural areas.

5-Ghani promised to end the bloodshed in the country countless times. This never happened under his rule.

6-He also vowed to build 6,000 schools. Nothing came of this.
8- Ghani also made numerous promises to make sure that every family had food on their tables – yet most soldiers went without pay for months.

Kabul residents are angry and have not only accused him stealing over $168 million dollars in cash as he fled the country on August 15 but also labeled him a complete liar.

“Every speech of Ashraf Ghani’s was a lie. He deceived the people of Afghanistan.

“None of his commitments were implemented,” said Mohamad Maseh, a Kabul resident.

Ghani made dozens of other commitments that he never achieved, which has had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary Afghans.

Teachers were not only promised land but housing as well. This never materialized, while Ghani also went back on his word when he said he would pay the salaries of civil servants from his own pocket if needed.

“Ghani deceived the people and told hundreds of lies and then fled,” said Rohid, a Kabul resident.

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Muttaqi says non-recognition of IEA govt is benefitting Daesh

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Turkey can play “an active role in investing, realizing some projects, renovating and restoring Afghanistan,” with the resources it possesses, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s new acting foreign minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency during his visit to the country this week, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the official recognition of his government and international aid held great importance to the recovery of the country’s economy.

While in Turkey, Muttaqi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed issues related to the official recognition of the IEA and the unfreezing by the US of Afghanistan’s assets.

Muttaqi said the freezing of reserves by the US after the IEA’s takeover, violated international law and human rights.

He stressed money blocked by the US was sent from other states for the development of Afghanistan.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the citizens of Afghanistan do?,” he asked.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave the Afghan people with a population of about 40 million without basic necessities.”

However, he told Anadolu Agency that not recognizing the new government in Afghanistan benefits Daesh (ISIS-K) but dismissed concerns that the group was a threat to Afghanistan.

“They are carrying out attacks on mosques and streets. You will agree that it is not an easy task to ensure the safety of all mosques and streets. They do not own any place in Afghanistan,” he said adding that “the fact that the new state in Afghanistan is not officially recognized is beneficial to Daesh/ISIS.

“The countries of the world, on the one hand, say control the Afghan people so they do not emigrate. On the other hand, they do not officially recognize the government and give morale to Daesh/ISIS. This is in the interest of neither Afghanistan nor the world,” he said.

Turkey and the new administration in Afghanistan held their first high-level contact after the IEA took power on August 15.

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Merkel hopes Germany continues to work with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

In a farewell visit to Turkey, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will continue to maintain a working relationship with Turkey, and stressed the need for continued cooperation on migration and other issues.

“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace.

“Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”

“We want to prevent human trafficking. It is essential … for the EU to support Turkey in this regard,” she said.

Merkel stressed that Turkey and Germany always have common interests, and added that this would be how the next federal government will see it.

Erdogan said Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made towards maintaining ties with Turkey.

“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are perhaps the most seasoned political leaders in the region. At times, Merkel has pushed for maintaining ties with Turkey despite pressure at home over contentious issues such as migration and human rights.

Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.

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