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Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa is an Afghan currently held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number is 579. American intelligence analysts estimate that Khairkhwa was born in 1967, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Press reports have referred to him as "Mullah" and "Maulavi", two different honorifics for referring to senior muslim clerics.[2][3][4][5][6]

Khirullah held various government posts, both before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, including a police official in Kabul, and finally, Governor of Herat Province.[2][7] Some reports have said he had been the Taliban's deputy minister of the interior, interim minister of the interior, the minister of the interior, and the Minister of Information.[3][5] Khirullah was also to serve as the Taliban's Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesman, giving interviews to the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America.

In 2000 the Washington Post described Khirullah as one of the progressive members of the Taliban.[8]

Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa arrived at Guantanamo on May 1, 2002, and has been held there for 16 years, 10 months, and 18 days.[9][10][11]


Two Afghans were held in Guantanamo who intelligence analysts believed were Khirullah Khairkhwa.

In the winter of 2003, about fifteen months after Khairkhwa's capture, an Afghan of Uzbek descent, named Abdullah Khan was captured based on a denunciation.[12] The Afghan who denounced him claimed that Abdullah Khan was actually Khirullah Khairkhwa. Khan was also transported to Guantanamo.

Khan told his own Combatant Status Review Tribunal that, until very shortly before his Tribunal convened, his interrogators kept insisting that he was lying about his identity, and that he was really Khirullah Khairkhwa.[12] Khan told his Tribunal that when other detainees told him that the real Khirullah Khairkhwa was already in another compound in Guantanamo, and had been there for more than a year he started to plead with his interrogators to check the prison roster, so they could see, for themselves, that he was not the real Khirullah Khairkhwa.

Khan noted that the accusation that he was really Khirullah Khairkhwa was dropped from the allegations assembled to present to his Tribunal, and were replaced with a totally new set of allegations, which he had never been interrogated about. The new allegations said he was a spy-master code-named "Khirullah".[12]

Khairkhwa's Police careerEdit

After Afghan fighters, with aid and support from the CIA, ousted communists from control of Afghanistan, Afghanistan went through a four-year period of civil war. The nominal Afghan administrations really only controlled the capital Kabul, and its surrounding area. The leaders of the local militias that fought the Soviets, and their local puppet regime were the defacto rulers of their local areas. During his Tribunal Khairkhwa testified that after fighting against the Soviet occupiers he was rewarded with a position as a Police officer in Kabul.[13] According to the Washington Post Khairkhwa served as Kabul's chief of police after its capture by the Taliban in 1996.[14] He also served as interior minister and the governor of Herat province.

Attitudes towards women's rightsEdit

According to Pamela Constable, writing in the Washington Post Khairkhwa was regarded as one of the senior Taliban with the most progressive attitude towards women, yet during a 2000 meeting with Dr Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees he compared the treatment of women in Afghanistan with the treatment of dogs [8][15] :

"According to UN aides who attended the meetings with Ogata, she devoted 90 percent of her agenda to the issue of women's rights ... At one point the aides said Khairkhwa used an analogy to make his point, noting that many Afghans generally abhor dogs but treat them well if they are trained to obey commands. The aides said Ogata responded with silence."

American detention in KandaharEdit

Fazal Mohammad, detained on suspicion a former Taliban commander, was released from American custody for medical reasons in mid-2002.[16]

  • He reported that he had been held in American custody in Kandahar with about 300 other captives, including Maulawi Khirullah Khairkhwa, and Khairkhwa's former boss, the Taliban's last foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil.
  • He reported that they were fed starvation rations, and their wounds were left untreated.
  • He reported that captives were subjected to sexual abuse, and attacks from dogs.

Combatant Status Review TribunalEdit

File:Locations mentioned in Khirullah Khairkhwa Tribunal.png

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct a competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants -- rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Khairkhwa chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[13]


  1. Detainee was appointed the Taliban spokesperson for the BBC and Voice of America.
  2. Detainee was appointed the governor of Herat Providence [sic] in Afghanistan from 1999 to 2001. Detainee worked for Mullah Omar while serving as governor. The detainee had control over police and military functions in Herat to include administration of the Taliban's two largest divisions. Detainee was required to route all decisions through Mullah Omar.
  3. Detainee was present at a clandestine meeting in October 2001 between Taliban and Iranian officials in which Iran pledged to assist the Taliban in their war with the United States.


Khairkhwa served as a witness during Abdul Rahim Muslimdost's CSRT.[17] One of the allegations against Muslimdost was that he worked for the Governor of Herat. And Khairkhwa, who had been the Governor of Herat, confirmed that the two of them had first met in Guantanamo.

Muslimdost, and his brother, were both determined to have never been enemy combatants in the first place, and were released, following their Combatant Status Review Tribunals.[18]

Administrative Review Board hearingsEdit

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Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings. The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".

They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat—or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.

First annual Administrative Review Board hearingEdit

A Summary of Evidence memo prepared for his Administrative Review Board.[20]

The following primary factors favor continued detention Edit


The detainee acted as the Pashto spokesman for the Taliban from 1994 to 1999.


The Taliban chose the detainee to become their spokesperson for BBC and Voice of America. As Taliban spokesperson, the detainee traveled to Chaman, Pakistan, Kandahar, Char Asiab District of Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif [sic].


While serving as the Taliban spokesperson in Spin Buldak, Afghanistan, the detainee also served as county supervisor in that area.


The detainee is a former Taliban Interior Minister and was the commander of Taliban forces that took Mazar-e-Sharif [sic] in 1996.


The detainee worked as a Deputy Sheriff in Spin Buldak and knew of shipments of Taliban seized weapons from Mazar-e-Sharif [sic] to Khandahar [sic].


The detainee was trusted by the Taliban to keep order in Herat and to send taxes back to Mullah Omar.

The detainee received military training for a short period of time at Camp Marof, near Kandahar, when the detainee was in his teens.

As Taliban spokesperson, the detainee met many influential Taliban leaders, such as Mullah Omar.


The detainee was known to have close ties to Usama Bin Laden.


In 1996, the detainee attended a meeting in Kandahar. Jihad fighters, Usama Bin Laden and his guest attended the meeting.


The detainee was appointed by the Taliban as Governor of Herat Province for a two-year period form about 1999 to 2001. The detainee's job was to improve relations between Iran and the Taliban government.


On 7 January 2000, the detainee and three other Taliban officials attended a meeting with Iranian and Hizbi Islami-Gulbuddin Hikmatyar [sic] faction officials. Present at the meeting were Afghan Hizbi Islami-Gulbuddin [sic] leader, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar [sic] and Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Topics of discussion included United States intervention in the region, restoration of peace in Afghanistan and strengthening the Taliban's ties with Iran [sic] government.


The detainee visited Mullah Omar for the funeral of Omar's brother, which was sometime in November 2000.


Mullah Omar approached the detainee prior to the 9/11/2001 attacks and voiced his distruct of Hamid Karzai and Omar's concern over the detainee's relationship with Karzai.


In the fall of 2001, the detainee met with Mullah Omar for about 10 minutes, outside of Omar's house, across from the Kharq-e-Sharif shrine.


In November 2001, the detainee met with an Iranian diplomatic delegation. The Iranian government was prepared to offer anti-aircraft weapons to the Taliban for use against the United States and coalition forces operating in Afghanistan.


On 20 December 2001, the detainee met with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in the Rais-Baghra House in Bagrhan, Helmand Province.


When the Taliban lost control of the government, the detainee called Hamid Karzai for advice. The detainee met with one of Karzai's representatives and discussed the new government and the detainee's future safety.


In early 2002, the detainee stayed at the home of Haji Abdul Bari in Chaman, Pakistan. While staying at Bari's residence, the detainee met with Abdul Manan, the Governor of Kabul.

The detainee has encouraged other detainees to cause problems, including making noise, not eating, killing themselves, not showering, and pushing the door during a search.
Detainee Actions and Statements

In 1994, when the Taliban started their rise to power, the detainee traveled from Pakistan to Afghanistan and lived in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.


In 1998, the detainee shipped weapons captured by the Taliban to Khandahar, Afghanistan.


After arriving in Herat as Governor, the detainee spent much of his time establishing himself as the premier narcotics trafficker in the region. The detainee purchased three walled compounds in Herat and transformed these compounds into large storage facilities for opium and vehicles that would be used in smuggling operations.


On 25 October 2001, the detainee provided money for troops and money for fuel purchases used to send 300 men from the Taliban 17th Army Division ikn Herat to Sabzak Pass in Badghis Province


The detainee fought against the Northern Alliance in November 2001.


Just prior to the day of his arrest, the detainee and his cousin crossed the Afghanistan/Pakistan border during the day on a motorcycle in an effort to avoid Pakistani roadblocks checking for identification and obtaining tools.


When bombing of Afghanistan started, the detainee traveled in a convoy of 10 vehicles to Arghastan. The vehicles were full of weapons.


In February 2002, the detainee traveled to Chaman, Pakistan.


During the second day in Pakistan, the detainee went for lunch to the home of Abdul Manan Niazi, the former Taliban Governor of Kabul, Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities arrested the detainee when they raided the house in a search for Niazi.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer Edit


The detainee stated upon his return to Afghanistan, he will rest.


The detainee stated if the Government is stable, he intends on being part of the government. He will grow crops and work at the bazaar.

Second annual Administrative Review Board hearingEdit

A Summary of Evidence memo prepared for his Administrative Review Board.[21]


Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa chose to participate in his second annual Administrative Review Board hearing.[22] The DoD published an eleven page transcript in September 2009.

Transfer to the USAEdit

On August 31, 2009 Corrections One, a trade journal for the prison industry, speculated that "Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa" was one of ten captives they speculated might be moved to a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan.[23]


  1. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2006-05-15. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Taliban blames foes of killing mine-clearers [1] 2000-08-07
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jewish men share faith, hatred in Kabul [2] Letta Tayler Chicago Tribune 2002-01-01
  4. Afghanistan's Taliban, opposition both claim gains [3] 1997-07-31
  5. 5.0 5.1 UN seeks to drop some Taliban leaders [4] Kaswar Klasra 2010-01-26
  6. Eight dead in Afghan blast [5] 2001-05-04
  7. Red Cross: Families ID detainees in list [6] USA Today 2006-04-20
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tongue-Lashing the Taliban; Grandmotherly U.N. Official Berates Afghans on Their Treatment of Women [7] Pamela Constable Washington Post 2000-09-20
  9. JTF-GTMO (2007-03-16). "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-12-22.  mirror
  10. "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)". Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. 
  11. Guantanamo Docket: Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa [8] Margot Williams 2008-11-03
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdullah Khan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 14-20
  13. 13.0 13.1 Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 67-73
  14. Pentagon Identifies More Gitmo Detainees, Washington Post, April 20, 2006
  15. William Maley (2001-03). Security, People-Smuggling, and Australia's New Afghan Refugees. Australian Defence Studies Centre. ISBN 0731704460. 
  16. Taliban prisoner claims sex abuse in Afghan jail [9] July 28, 2002
  17. Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdul Rahim Muslimdost's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 1-16
  18. Guantanamo Bay Detainees Classifed as "No Longer Enemy Combatants", Washington Post
  19. (Review process unprecedented [10] Spc Timothy Book March 10, 2006
  20. OARDEC (October 7, 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Khairkhwa, Khirullah Said Wali" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 38–41. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  21. OARDEC (June 16, 2006). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Khairkhwa, Khirullah Said Wali". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 83–85. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  22. OARDEC (June 2006). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings for ISN 579". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 34–44. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  23. Profile of 10 U.S.-bound Gitmo detainees [11] Kathryn Lynch-Morin 2009-08-31

External linksEdit

no:Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa