A militant who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years was largely the victim of mistaken identity, according to U.S. defense officials.
Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri was captured in 2002 and believed to be an al Qaeda facilitator or courier, and trainer, the Department of Defense said in a document submitted Tuesday as part of a periodic review of his detention.
“We now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists” with similar names or aliases, the profile of the Yemeni detainee dated Sept. 25 added.
“Fragmentary reporting” did link the 37-year-old to fighting in Bosnia in 1995. He also told interrogators that he fought in the civil war in his homeland in 1996 and in Afghanistan with the Taliban from 2000 to 2001, according to the document.
But while al-Shamiri “probably took explosives training at a camp in Afghanistan” and may have stayed at a safehouse with operatives who planned al Qaeda’s October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, there was no evidence he was part of the operation, according to his Defense Department profile.