Friday, October 22, 2004

International pressure

Some eight "inmates" that have been released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield. Says the Pentagon: "international pressure had undermined the U.S. effort to fight Islamic fundamentalism."

At least eight inmates released from detention at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to the battlefield against U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan, prompting complaints inside the Pentagon that international pressure had undermined the U.S. effort to fight Islamic fundamentalism.

The most recent case is that of Abdullah Mehsud, a former Taliban commander released from the detention facility in March, who masterminded the recent kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan. One of the engineers was killed during an Oct. 14 rescue attempt by the Pakistani military.

The Mehsud case and incidents involving at least seven other former detainees demonstrate that mounting international pressure to either file charges against the prisoners or release them has led to inevitable mistakes, officials say.

"I think it's time to question whether we are releasing too many of them," said a senior Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The sheer number of people we are seeing on the battlefield is cause for concern."

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