According to news reports, the Taliban's new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan, the center of fierce fighting, is Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, formerly prisoner No. 008 at Guantanamo.
Rasoul, who was captured in the field near Konduz in 2001 and released in 2007, "is now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a nom de guerre that Pentagon and intelligence officials say is used by a Taliban leader who is in charge of operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan."
Pentagon and intelligence officials said Rasoul has emerged as a key militant figure in southern Afghanistan, where violence has been spiking in the last year. Thousands of U.S. troops are preparing to deploy there to fight resurgent Taliban forces.
One intelligence official told the Associated Press that Rasoul's stated mission is to counter the U.S. troop surge.
In 2005, Rasoul claimed to a military tribunal reviewing his status that he had surrendered to Northern Alliance troops in 2001 and been handed over to the Americans for a bounty.
He told the tribunal that he intended to return to a peaceful life in Afghanistan.
"I want to go back home and join my family and work in my land and help my family," he said, according to a U.S. military transcript of the hearing.
I guess he lied.
The Pentagon says that as many as 60 former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield.
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