US captures Haqqani Network facilitator who was previously in custody

Today ISAF announced that it recently detained a Haqqani Network commander who had been in custody earlier this year. From the ISAF press release:

Afghan and coalition forces captured a Haqqani Network improvised explosive device facilitator during an operation in Khost province yesterday.

The facilitator, a top target for Afghan and coalition forces, was responsible for the movement of IED materials for insurgent groups to conduct their attacks in Sabari district. The security force detained the facilitator earlier this year, but he was released after four months in captivity and immediately resumed his nefarious activities.

I inquired with ISAF as to why the Haqqani Network facilitator had been released previously. The response, below, is in full:

U.S. and coalition forces detain individuals who pose a threat to the government and people of Afghanistan, the U.S. and its coalition partners under the Law of Armed Conflict. Detainee Review Boards (DRBs) are required for all detainees in U.S. custody by a Deputy Secretary of Defense policy dated July 2, 2009. Detainees receive a DRB within 60 days of their arrival at the Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP) and then every six months thereafter, for as long as they are detained.

A Detainee Review Board is not a criminal trial. The DRB determines, based on the evidence, whether the detainee poses a continued threat and remains a fighter who must be kept off the battlefield to mitigate that threat.

Criteria for detention at the DFIP does not involve “guilt” or “innocence”, but rather a determination based upon the available information that detention is necessary to mitigate the threat the detainee poses to the government and people of Afghanistan, the U.S. and its coalition partners.

Individuals meet the criteria for detention if they are either:

“Persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attack that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks;” or

“Persons who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in aid of such enemy armed forces.”

In the case referenced in IJC News Release #292, a Detainee Review Board determined, based on all of the information available, that the individual did not meet the criteria for detention and that, therefore, under operative DoD policy, the detainee must be released.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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