The United States has transferred two brothers from the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to Pakistan, bringing the total number of people held at Guantanamo to 32, according to the Pentagon on Thursday.
Following the 2001 hijacked plane attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Republican President George W. Bush established the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2002 to house foreign terrorism suspects.
It came to represent the excesses of the United States “war on terror” due to harsh interrogation methods that critics said amounted to torture.
When Democrat President Joe Biden took office in 2021, there were 40 detainees. Biden has stated his desire to close the facility. The federal government is prohibited by law from transferring detainees from Guantanamo to US mainland prisons.
The Pentagon announced the repatriation of Abdul Rabbani and Mohammed Rabbani to Pakistan on Thursday.
They were both arrested in 2002. According to the Pentagon’s website, Abdul Rabbani was an al Qaeda facilitator, while Mohammed Rabbani was a financial and travel facilitator for prominent al Qaeda leaders.
“The United States appreciates the Government of Pakistan’s and other partners’ willingness to support ongoing US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and eventually closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
According to the Pentagon, 32 detainees remain, with 18 of them eligible for transfer.