Taliban appoint former Guantanamo detainee as acting defense minister

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The Taliban has appointed a former Guantanamo detainee as acting defense minister following the Islamic fundamentalist group’s takeover of Afghanistan, according to a new report. 

Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir has been chosen to assume the role, the Qatari-based Al Jazeera news channel reported on Tuesday, citing a source in the Islamist movement.

Zakir, also known as Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, was captured by US forces after 9/11 and incarcerated at the detention center in Cuba.

He was transferred back to Afghanistan in 2007 and soon released.

Following his release, Zakir became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan. He was then blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
AP Photo/Zabi Karimi, File

Meanwhile, thousands of relieved Afghans are continuing to arrive in the United States as the US accelerates efforts to evacuate those stranded in Kabul after the Taliban demanded all foreign troops be out of the country by Aug. 31.

After arriving in Virginia, the evacuees are transported to the Dulles Expo Center, where they are housed before being sent on to various US military facilities.

About 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the US-backed government’s fall last week. US estimates put the number of citizens in the country at around 8,000 to 15,000.

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA
Following his release from Cuba, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan.
John Moore/Getty Images

With Post wires

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