|In this identity portrait Khairullah Khairkhwa wears the tan uniform issued to compliant captives while detained at Guantanamo Bay.|
|Minister of the Interior|
|Born||1967 Kandahar, Afghanistan|
|Religion||Deobandi Sunni Islam|
|Years of service||1994-2001|
|Battles/wars||Afghan civil war
War in Afghanistan
Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa is a Taliban official and former governor of Herat. He was held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba. He was released in late May 2014 in a prisoner exchange that involved Bowe Bergdahl and the Taliban five. Press reports have referred to him as "Mullah" and "Maulavi", two different honorifics for referring to senior Muslim clerics.
American intelligence analysts estimate that Khairkhwa was born in 1967 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He is a Popalzai from Arghestan in Kandahar province. He studied religious topics at the Haqqaniya and Akhora Khattak madrassas in Pakistan, together with other influential Taliban leaders.
Khirullah was one of the original Taliban members who launched the movement in 1994.
Khairullah Khairkhwah was the Minister of the Interior under Taliban rule in 1997 and 1998. The Deputy Minister was Mohammed Khaksar.
Some reports have said he had been the Taliban's deputy minister of the interior, interim minister of the interior, the minister of the interior, and the Minister of Information. Khirullah was also to serve as the Taliban's Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesman, giving interviews to the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America.
In early 2011 president Hamid Karzai demanded his release and Hekmat Karzai, the director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul said "His release will be influential to the peace process," and that "Mr Khairkhwa is well respected amongst the Taliban and was considered a moderate by those who knew him".
M K Bhadrakumar (2012-01-10). "There's more to peace than Taliban". Asia Times. Retrieved 2012-01-11. "Nevertheless, Iranian media insist that three high-ranking Taliban leaders have been released - Mullah Khairkhawa, former interior minister; Mullah Noorullah Noori, a former governor; and Mullah Fazl Akhund, the Taliban's chief of army staff - in exchange for an American soldier held by the Taliban." Throughout the fall of 2011 and the winter of 2012 the United States conducted peace negotiations with the Taliban, and widely leaked was that a key sticking point was the ongoing detention of Khairkhwa and four other senior Taliban, Norullah Noori, Mohammed Fazl, Abdul Haq Wasiq. Negotiations hinged around sending the five men directly to Doha, Qatar, where they would be allowed to set up an official office for the Taliban.
In March 2012 it was reported that Ibrahim Spinzada, described as "Karzai's top aide" had spoken with the five men, in Guantanamo, earlier that month, and had secured their agreement to be transferred to Qatar. It was reported that Karzai, who had initially opposed the transfer, now backed the plan. It was reported that US officials stated the Obama administration had not yet agreed to transfer the five men.
Khairkhwa and the other four members of the Taliban five were flown to Qatar and released on June 1, 2014. Simultaneously U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released in eastern Afghanistan. Khairkhwa was required to spend the next year in Qatar, a condition of his and the other Taliban members, release.
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- Mohammad Khaksar
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- "Rebranding the Taliban". Al Jazeera. 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2012-03-12. "On March 28, the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, will hear a case on behalf of Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former high-ranking Taliban official who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for the past eight years." mirror
- "Guantanamo Taliban inmates 'agree to Qatar transfer'". BBC News. 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-03-12. "If the president pursues this strategy, though, he will need support from wary politicians in Congress, our correspondent says. Many there see a transfer of what they call the most dangerous inmates at Guantanamo as a step too far, he adds." mirror
- Rahim Faiez, Anne Gearan (2012-03-12). "Taliban prisoners at Guantánamo OK transfer". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-03-12. "Five top Taliban leaders held by the U.S. in the Guantánamo Bay military prison told a visiting Afghan delegation they agree to a proposed transfer to the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, opening the door for a possible move aimed at bringing the Taliban into peace talks, Afghan officials said Saturday." mirror
- Hamid Shalizi (2012-03-10). "Taliban Guantanamo detainees agree to Qatar transfer - official". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-03-12. "Karzai's top aide, Ibrahim Spinzada, visited the Guantanamo facility this week to secure approval from the five Taliban prisoners to be moved to Qatar." mirror
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