Officials: Top Taliban Leader Was at Gitmo

Taliban Operations Chief Was Prisoner 008

Mullah Abdullah Zakir is the Taliban leader in charge of operations in southern Afghanistan, the central front in the growing nationwide insurgency. But anonymous officials told the Associated Press today that the Mullah has a very interesting backstory.

He got his start as Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, prisoner 008 at the American detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Captured in 2001 and held at the prison until being turned over to the Afghan govt in December of 2007, Rasoul was infamously held primarily on his possession of two extremely common Casio wristwatches.

The Helmand native was eventually freed, and is now charged with opposing the planned Obama surge. The Pentagon has repeatedly pointed to the number of former Gitmo detainees who, after being held for years without charges, have opposed the American military operation in Afghanistan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.