Gitmo Detainee: If Afghan War Is Over, Why Can’t I Leave?

Justice Dept Downplays Idea of War Actually Ending

Guantanamo Bay-held Kuwaiti Fawzi Odah, captured by Pakistanis in late 2001 along the border with Afghanistan, has petitioned for his release as a prisoner of war, arguing that President Obama’s declaration that the Afghan war is going to end at the end of the year means he should go home.

It’s a practical argument under international law, as prisoners of war are supposed to be returned home once a war is over. The Justice Department is seeking the case be dismissed on the grounds that the war isn’t going to end, and that they have no idea when it will, if it ever does.

According to his family, Odah traveled to Afghanistan in 2001 to do charity work, and after 9/11 he fled through the tribal areas of Pakistan, intending to return to Kuwait. He was captured by a Pakistani militia and sold to the US as a “foreign fighter,” and the US has unquestioningly dubbed him an enemy combatant who intended to join al-Qaeda.

Odah has repeatedly been at the center of legal battles for his release, and US officials have claimed to have come up with some evidence against him after his capture, though the nature of all of that evidence has been classified.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of