Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bostan Karim

ISN: 975
Nationality: Afghan

The following is a summary of the allegations against Bostan Karim found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  

In 2002 an informant told the US military that 18 IEDs had been prepared for use against US and Coalition forces. The source said that two of the IEDs were stored in a house belonging to a person named Karim. The source believed Karim and a person named Obaidullah were working together to plan the attacks.

This tip-off lead to Obaidullah’s capture on July 20, 2002 at his home. Active mines were found at Obaidullah’s house.

In subsequent interrogations, Obaidullah said that Bostan Karim recruited him to join his Al Qaeda cell. Obaidullah said that Bostan gave him the mines and that three days before he was arrested, Bostan drew schematics showing how to detonate the mines in Obaidullah’s notebook. Bostan did not tell Obaidullah when the landmines would be used or who they would be used against, but did tell him that they would be used to kill people Bostan did not like.

On August 13, 2002 Pakistani police stopped a bus carrying Bostan Karim and Abdallah Wazir. The police asked Abdallah to step outside the bus to see if he was carrying contraband. Abdallah then attempted to hand a satellite phone to Bostan without the police noticing. The police saw the exchange and detained both men.

Pakistani police later realized Bostan matched the description of an al Qaeda bomb cell leader and formally arrested both men. Bostan spent about 6 months in a prison in Islamabad before being handed over to US forces in February 2003.

Bostan told his CSRT that while he was in US custody at the US military prison at Bagram, he was not allowed to sleep for 15 days.

Bostan Karim was sent to Guantanamo on March 6, 2003.

Bostan told US interrogators that from 1995 until his capture he owned two stores. He said one store sold plastic flowers and the other rented furniture and dishes for special occasions.

Bostan denied being a part of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. 

Bostan said that he was a member of Tablighi Jamaat and that he joined the organization in 1996. Tablighi Jamaat means Group for Preaching.

According to Stratfor, Tablighi Jamaat, “sends missionaries across the globe on proselytizing missions intended to bring wayward Muslims back to more orthodox practices of Islam.”

Bostan’s DAB said that affiliation with JT has been identified as an Al Qaeda cover story and that Al Qaeda is known to have used the JT to facilitate and fund the international travel of its members.

Stratfor says that, “Although the TJ organization unintentionally serves as a front for, or conduit to, militant organizations such as al Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Tablighis act willingly as a global unified jihadist recruiting arm.”

Adel Al Zamel, another Guantanamo prisoner, said that Obaidullah told him that Bostan, Obaidullah, and 5 others placed 30 anti-tank mines along a road to attack an American convoy. Zamel said the mines were set up so they could be triggered remotely.

Al Zamel also said that Bostan told him that Bostan was a member of an Al Qaeda cell.

At his 2004 CSRT, Bostan said that Obaidullah had been his business partner. Bostan said that they parted ways because Obaidullah owed him money.

At his CSRT, Bostan said that when he was captured he had been traveling to Pakistan to buy merchandise. He requested Obaidullah and Abdullah as witnesses. Although both were at Guantanamo, his request was denied.

At his 2005 ARB Obaidullah said that he falsely incriminated Bostan at US military prisons in Afghanistan because he was tortured.

“The first time when they [US soldiers] captured me and brought me to Khost they put a knife to my throat and said if you don’t tell us the truth and you lie to us we are going to slaughter you […] There were a lot of things they made me say.”

The Unclassified summary provided to Bostan at his 2005 ARB showed that Obaidullah had recanted his allegations against Bostan. At his ARB Bostan said, “The one that really has punished me is Obaidullah.”

Adel Al Zamel was released in November 2005. In an interview he gave after his release he said that when he was walked to his interrogations at the US military prison in Bagram, “the guards would continuously hit me on my head with sticks, and every time I denied their accusations during interrogations (of being tied to Al-Qaida) the guards would hit me even more.”

Zamel also said interrogators intimidated him by placing a gun on the table during an interrogation. 

At his 2006 ARB Bostan said that Obaidullah, “is my enemy.”

Bostan said, “I asked the interrogators to have him face me… This is a very important thing. Even if we go back home, I will not let it go. He said to Americans that I am involved. When I came here, he is hiding from me.”

Bostan also said that Obaidullah, “damaged me, he has been cruel to me. I want Obaidullah to tell the truth and the facts. Whether he does it today, tomarrow, 10 days later, I just want to face him. I know that, when we got back home, he will tell everybody where he got the bombs, the booklets, and everything, but it will be useless at that time. So I want him to tell the truth now because it will help me out.”

Obaidullah’s 2008 DAB says that Obaidullah made statements that show he is afraid of Bostan.

In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Bostan for continued detention.

In 2011 Obaidullah’s defense team sent a military investigator to Afghanistan. The military investigator confirmed Obaidullah’s claims that he had been tortured. Obaidullah had been sleep deprived and struck in the back of the head with a rifle. The investigator found that the mines at his house had been left by a communist military commander who used Obaidullah’s house during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Later in 2011 Bostan lost his habeas corpus case. Judge Reggie Walton wrote that the most likely explanation for Bostan taking Abdullah Wazir’s phone on the bus in Pakistan, “was his knowledge that the telephone could be used to detonate explosive devices.”

Why did Abdullah hand his phone to Bostan? Bostan didn’t know why. Abdullah was imprisoned at Guantanamo from June 2003 through December 2007.

Abdullah told his 2004 CSRT that he left his phone on the bus because he feared that if the Pakistani authorities saw the phone, they would take his money because they were corrupt.

Boston Karim remains at Guantanamo to this day. 

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