D.C. Cir. on determining who is part of the Taliban

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Feb 13, 2012 D.C. Cir. on determining who is part of the Taliban

Two weeks ago, the D.C. Circuit Court affirmed the trial court’s grounds for finding Abdul-Rahman Abdo Abulghaith Suleiman to have been part of the Taliban, in order to justify Guantanamo detention. Suleiman v. Obama, et al., ___ F.3d ___ (D.C. Cir., Jan. 27, 2012).

In affirming the trial curt, Suleiman stated:

Our task is to determine whether this undisputed evidence provides a legally adequate basis for the district court’s conclusion that Suleiman was part of the Taliban. We have previously stated that "the purely independent conduct of a freelancer is not enough to establish that an individual is ‘part of al-Qaida," and the same is true for being part of the Taliban. Salahi v. Obama, 625 F.3d 745,752 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (quoting Bensayah v. Obama, 610 FJd 718, 725 (D.C. Cir. 2010)). But the facts here show that Suleiman was no freelancer.

There is no dispute that Suleiman’ s travel was initiated at the suggestion of and facilitated by a Taliban recruiter, and that he traveled a well-wo111 path to Afghanistan frequently used by Taliban recruits. We have stated that such travel may indicate that an individual traveled to Afghanistan to join the Taliban. See Al Odah v. United States, 611 F.3d 8, 14 (D.C. Cir. 2010) ("[I]nterrogation reports of a third party concerning al Qaeda and Taliban travel routes into Afghanistan . . . although far from conclusive … suggest[] that an individual using this travel route to reach Kandahar may have done so because it was a route used by SOlTIe individuals seeking to enter Afghanistan for the purpose of jihad."


Of course, we cannot be sure of everything the Suleiman opinion says, because part of pages 6 through 7, as described in as page 2: "Portions of this opinion contain Classified Information, which has been redacted."

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