From The New York Times:
A front-line commander during the Taliban government, Mullah Zakir was captured in 2001 in northern Afghanistan and was detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, until his release in 2007, Afghan Taliban members contacted by telephone said.
Zakir is reportedly instrumental in handling relations between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban forces.
Zakir’s release was partially due to a very skillful campaign of deception. The Weekly Standard blog writes:
Zakir’s story contains important lessons for those who simply repeat the detainees’ claims of innocence without any real inspection. Note that Taliban officials and fighters cited in press accounts have explained that Zakir was always a high-level Taliban leader. It was not his time at Guantánamo that pushed him into the Taliban’s arms. But you wouldn’t know this if you accepted Zakir’s testimony at Guantánamo at face value.
During his hearings, Zakir claimed that he was nothing more than a conscript who was “forcefully” armed by the Taliban and sold for a bounty by corrupt Northern Alliance forces. Zakir’s testimony fed into two prominent narratives that are often repeated: many of the detainees have been low-level conscripts unworthy of prolonged detention, and the only reason they were detained is because we paid for them to be turned over. This was probably true in some cases, but not many, and certainly not in Zakir’s case.
Zakir was clearly lying. As the Taliban members cited in the press have made clear, Zakir was a top-level commander close to Mullah Omar prior to his detention at Guantánamo. If U.S. forces paid a bounty for him it was for good reasons.
During one of his hearings at Guantánamo, Zakir was asked: “Do you like what the United States is doing in Afghanistan now?” Zakir responded: “Yes, I am very happy. I am very pleased like I told you before. They are [re]building my country.”
“I [have] never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be,” Zakir insisted.
He was lying.