Most are surprised by the speed at which the Taliban have recaptured the whole of Afghanistan, as if they have faced no opposition to take control of any province or city. Behind this increasing pace and new form of Taliban are the faces of this extremist organization, which is called Taliban 5, now history will not be able to forget them even if they want. The Taliban leader served 13 years as a US prisoner of war, a long-term Afghan prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and was released by Barack Obama in 2014 in exchange for US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
These people have been kept by the US Intelligence Department in the category of the harshest of the hardest. They were deemed a high risk to the US and were recommended for continued detention. Interestingly, in March 2019, the same people, Taliban 5, were involved in peace talks with the US to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
In 2019, as the US and the Taliban held intense talks to end the conflict in Afghanistan, the Taliban leadership made a point to include former prisoners. The same five people sat face-to-face with US diplomats and generals every day during talks in Doha, Qatar.
Five former Guantanamo detainees had different roles during the Taliban government. Mulla Khairkhawa served as a governor and acting minister for internal affairs. Abdul Haq Wasik was the Deputy Intelligence Minister.
Perhaps the most infamous figure in the group is Mullah Fazl Majloom, a front-line commander who was also the head of the Taliban army. Allegations of human rights abuses against all these people are generally not fully proven, but there is much evidence against Mulla Majloom, who is accused of mass murders and the brutality of radicalisation.
According to a report in The New York Times, Guantanamo’s files contain several allusions to gross misconduct and provocation, including milking the guards and tearing their mattresses in protest.
The report also said that Mullah Khairkhawa was accused of drug trafficking and of being close to Osama bin Laden’s men in Al Qaeda. However, in his hearing, he denied both the allegations.
Now, with the Taliban taking over Kabul and looking ready to form a government, there are reports that these five men may be the masterminds behind the merger.
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