US considers military trial for alleged Russian Taliban fighter – report
MOSCOW, December 18 (RAPSI) - Obama administration officials are considering the option of bringing an alleged Russian Taliban fighter who was captured in Afghanistan years ago to the US to face trial in front of a military commission, The Washington Post reported Wednesday citing former and current US officials.
The Post reports that the alleged Russian – who adopted the nom de guerre Irek Hamidullan – had been fighting with Soviet forces in Afhanistan in the 1980s when he deserted. He reportedly battled US forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and is suspected of having been involved in several 2009 attacks that killed or injured US troops, according to the report, which added that he was wounded later that year and captured fighting with the Taliban.
If allegations of Hamidullan’s Russian nationality are true, he wouldn’t be the only foreigner to join the ranks of the Taliban.
A 20-year-old American man named John Walker Lindh was captured while fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks. Lind pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2002 for having supplied services to the Taliban while fighting on its front lines in Afghanistan. A US Department of Justice (DOJ) statement released in July of that year lauds the plea: "Today marks an important victory in America's war on terrorism. By going to Afghanistan and fighting shoulder to shoulder alongside the Taliban, John Walker Lindh allied himself with terrorists who reject our values of freedom and democracy and turned his back on the United States of America. He will now spend the next twenty years in prison; nearly as long as he has been alive.”
Among various other foreign Taliban fighters is David Hicks – an Australian former Guantanamo Bay detainee convicted for providing material support for terrorism after fighting with Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Hamidullan – who is said to be in his 50s – is being held by the US military in Afghanistan, according to The Post.
The Obama administration is committed to drawing down US forces in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. According to an information sheet on the White House website: “At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, the United States, our International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners, and the Afghan Government agreed to transfer full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014.”
The Post explains that the US will be required to come up with a game plan for the several dozen non-Afghan detainees currently being held in Afghanistan by that point.
While thousands of Afghan detainees will reportedly be transferred to local authorities at that point, it is still unknown what will become the non-Afghan detainees – who have been deemed continuing threats to the US, the Post’s sources claimed.