Monday, November 24, 2008

The al Qaeda Guesthouses

The article on a whole is on the more political question of what to do with the Guantanamo detainees, but I thought this was an interesting footnote on the hijackers. The troofers like to pretend that they existed separate from any connection to Islamic fundamentalists. That is not at all true.

Of the 242 current detainees identified by the Times, our review found that at least 146 (60 percent) are alleged to have either operated or stayed in an al Qaeda or Taliban guesthouse.

Two guesthouse operators still in custody at Guantánamo warrant special scrutiny. The Rabbani brothers, Abu Rahman and Mohammed, operated a series of guesthouses for al Qaeda. The 9/11 Commission report says that the hijackers responsible for securing the planes on 9/11 stayed at a guesthouse that KSM requested Abu Rahman to secure in Karachi, Pakistan. They were then deployed to the United States. Other 9/11 hijackers stayed at the Karachi guesthouse as well. One Guantánamo file notes that Abu Rahman "identified 17 of the September 11, 2001, hijackers" as having stayed at his guesthouse. He was also able to identify several of the terrorists responsible for the August 7, 1998, embassy bombings as men he had assisted. Mohammed Rabbani, according to the Guantánamo files, assisted the retreat of 50 to 60 al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan in December 2001.

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