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|
|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.
Claims from analysts at Guantanamo that Khairkhwa was directly associated with Osama Bin Laden and Taliban Supreme Commander Mullah Muhammad Omar have been widely repeated. Kate Clark has criticized her fellow journalists for uncritically repeating US claims that were largely based on unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo, or on confessions and denunciations coerced through torture and other extreme interrogation techniques.
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".
September 2000 BBC interview
Kate Clark, then of the BBC News, interviewed Khairkhwa in September 2000. Clark wrote that Khairkhwa was comfortable conversing in the Dari language, when most Taliban leaders, all members of Afghanistan's Pashtun ethnic group, would only speak in the Pashtun language. She wrote that, under Khairkhwa, she was allowed to film openly in Herat, even though doing so was disallowed under Taliban law. She wrote that, under Khairkhwa, Afghan women felt comfortable approaching her, and speaking with her, something that never happened in other regions of Afghanistan.
Joint Review Task Force
When he assumed office in January 2009 President Barack Obama made a number of promises about the future of Guantanamo. He promised the use of torture would cease at the camp. He promised to institute a new review system. That new review system was composed of officials from six departments, where the OARDEC reviews were conducted entirely by the Department of Defense. When it reported back, a year later, the Joint Review Task Force classified some individuals as too dangerous to be transferred from Guantanamo, even though there was no evidence to justify laying charges against them. On April 9, 2013, that document was made public after a Freedom of Information Act request. Khairullah Khairkhwa was one of the 71 individuals deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release. Although Obama promised that those deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release would start to receive reviews from a Periodic Review Board less than a quarter of men have received a review.
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 on a proposal to send 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.
- Deobandi Islam: The Religion of the Taliban U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps, 15 October 2001
- "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2006-05-15.
- "U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl freed in Afghanistan". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- "Taliban blames foes of killing mine-clearers". Independent Online. 2000-08-07.
The Taliban Governor in the province, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, has blamed the opposition Northern Alliance for the attack, saying the assailants have been arrested. The oppositions reaction was not immediately available.
- Letta Tayler (2002-01-01). "Jewish men share faith, hatred in Kabul". Chicago Tribune. p. 4.
- "Afghanistan's Taliban, opposition both claim gains". CNN. 1997-07-31.
- Kaswar Klasra (2010-01-26). "UN seeks to drop some Taliban leaders". The Nation (Pakistan).
- "Eight dead in Afghan blast". BBC News. 2001-05-04.
- Kate Clark (2012-03-09). "Releasing the Guantanamo Five? 1: Biographies of the Prisoners (amended)". The Afghan Analysts Network. Archived from the original on 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
Unlike many Taleban, he was comfortable speaking to a foreigner and, very unusually, happy to be interviewed in Persian (most Taleban would only speak Pashto at the time). Herat, where he was the governor, was noticeably more relaxed than Kabul, Mazar or Kandahar: I filmed openly in the city (then an illegal act), the economy was reasonably buoyant and women came up to chat – a very rare occurrence.
- Jeffrey Dressler; Isaac Hock (6 April 2012). "Releasng Taliban detainees: A misguided path to peace" (PDF). Understanding War. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Red Cross: Families ID detainees in list". USA Today. 2006-04-20.
- Mohammad Khaksar
- JTF-GTMO (2007-03-16). "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-12-22. mirror
- "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)" (PDF). Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-21.
- Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
- Nordland, Rod (2011-02-08). "Karzai Calls for Release of Taliban Official From Guantánamo". The New York Times.
- "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
- Peter Finn (January 22, 2010). "Justice task force recommends about 50 Guantanamo detainees be held indefinitely". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Peter Finn (May 29, 2010). "Most Guantanamo detainees low-level fighters, task force report says". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Andy Worthington (June 11, 2010). "Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo?". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "71 Guantanamo Detainees Determined Eligible to Receive a Periodic Review Board as of April 19, 2013". Joint Review Task Force. 2013-04-09. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
- Farmer, Ben (2011-02-06). "Afghan peace council risks angering US by demanding release of Taliban leader Khairullah Khairkhwa from Guantanamo". Kabul: The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
The demand that Khairullah Khairkhwa is released has emerged as the first formal recommendations from the High Peace Council.
- M K Bhadrakumar (2012-01-10). "There's more to peace than Taliban". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. 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.
- "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
- "American soldier held captive in Afghanistan is now free". MSNBC. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Who Are the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo? Part Five: Captured in Pakistan Andy Worthington, September 29, 2010