Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Afghan Journal:

Ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoner the next Afghan Taliban commander?

(An Afghan soldier speaks at a flag raising ceremony in Marjah)

(An Afghan soldier speaks at a flag-raising ceremony in Marjah)

It is a measure of the shadowy nature of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan that it is hard to come up with even a couple of names of senior figures who could possibly succeed  top commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader following his capture in a joint U.S.-Pakistan raid.

Such is the diffused leadership structure - more like a franchise down to the villages - that the only thing you can say for certain is that the Islamist movement is still led by the one-eyed Mullah Mohammad Omar, although according to reports  he hasn't been seen even by his own followers in the past three years.

It's a risky business then to hazard a guess as I wrote in this story, but one of the names that is doing the rounds of the security blogs/newspapers is that of Abdul Qayum Zakir, a Taliban fighter from the 1990s who has spent time in Guantanamo Bay. His is an interesting story. He surrendered to U.S. and Afghan forces in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif as the regime was collapsing in 2001.

He spent the next several years in custody, was transferred to Guantanamo around 2006, then to Afghanistan government custody in late 2007, and was eventually released.  It's not clear why he was released but he lost no time in re-joining the insurgency. He quickly rose to take charge of the operations in the key provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan.