Islamabad (diplomat.so) - Two Afghan detainees, Abdul Zahir Saber and Abdul Karim, previously held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay detention center since 2002, have been released from house arrest in Oman, announced a Taliban spokesman on Sunday.
According to Abdul Mateen Qani, spokesman for the Taliban's interior ministry, their release was facilitated by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The men, who had been detained in Guantanamo until 2017, were later transferred to Oman, where they spent seven years under house arrest, barred from leaving the country.
Photographs of Saber and Karim were shared on social media by senior Taliban officials along with messages of congratulations. An official welcome ceremony is scheduled for their return to Kabul on Monday, Qani confirmed.
Guantanamo Bay detention center was established by the United States in January 2002 under President George W. Bush, following the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan. Initially aimed at housing and interrogating individuals linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban, it later housed suspects from various countries, gaining notoriety for reports of mistreatment and torture.
Abdul Zahir Saber, originally from Logar province, was arrested by American forces in May 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo after four months in Bagram prison. Abdul Karim, a resident of Tani district in Khost province, was arrested in Pakistan in August 2002 and subsequently handed over to U.S. forces.
Qani emphasized the role of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in securing the release of the detainees, stating that after years of imprisonment and restrictions, they would finally return to their homeland.