The Guantánamo Files: Additional Chapters Online – From Sheberghan to Kandahar


The Guantanamo FilesI’ve just posted the seventh of 12 additional online chapters supplementing my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press, and available from Amazon here). This additional chapter complements Chapter 9 of The Guantánamo Files, looking at the stories of 21 prisoners not mentioned in the book.

They were amongst the 80 or so prisoners (including those in Chapter 3, The Convoy of Death), who were seized in northern Afghanistan, mostly in November 2001, in connection with the fall of Kunduz, the Taliban’s last stronghold in northern Afghanistan, and they were subsequently imprisoned in dire conditions in Sheberghan prison, which was featured in the film The Road to Guantánamo, before being transferred to the US prison at Kandahar, and on to Guantánamo.

Featuring stories that were excluded to keep the book at a manageable length, this additional chapter looks at a handful of stragglers from the Gulf, and two Tajiks, although the majority of the stories focus on Afghans and Pakistanis.

As Barack Obama begins planning his new administration, it will serve, I hope, as a reminder of the many wrongly imprisoned men — innocent men, and Taliban foot soldiers with no knowledge of al-Qaeda — who have been held at Guantánamo since the prison opened nearly seven years ago, and of the violence, arrogance and failures of intelligence that have underpinned the entire project. Almost all the men in this additional chapter have been freed, but of the 258 prisoners who remain at Guantánamo, there are many similar stories of individuals in the wrong place at the wrong time, seized and sold for money, and of lies and false confessions masquerading as evidence.

The architects of this colossal and chilling betrayal of justice are on their way out, and it is time to close Guantánamo as soon as is humanly possible.

Note: See the column on the left for the first six online chapters, and the last five.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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