As President Obama frees droves of terrorists—including five Yemenis this week—from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo news reports confirm that a Gitmo alum who once led a Taliban unit has established the first Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) base in Afghanistan.
His name is Mullah Abdul Rauf and international and domestic media reports say he’s operating in Helmand province, actively recruiting fighters for ISIS. Citing local sources, a British newspaper writes that Rauf set up a base and is offering good wages to anyone willing to fight for the Islamic State. Rauf was a corps commander during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports. After getting captured by U.S. forces, he was sent to Gitmo in southeast Cuba but was released in 2007.
Rauf’s Department of Defense Joint Task Force Guantanamo file describes him as being closely associated with several senior level Taliban commanders and leaders. It also says that Rauf admitted involvement in the production and sales of opium as well as associations with criminal elements within the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. From the file: “Due to recent findings that detainee may have had a more important role within the Taliban than previously thought detainee’s intelligence value has been updated from low to medium due to his possible knowledge of: (1) Taliban leadership, (2) Taliban command and control.”