Wed, Oct 18, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Former detainees return to Pakistan

AP , ISLAMABAD

Eight Pakistanis released from US detention facilities in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned home on Monday, a Cabinet minister said.

Two of the men had been held in Guantanamo Bay and the six others were at Bagram, the main US military base north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, said Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao.

Sherpao said the eight were arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of being terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He declined to release their identities.

The eight were taken to a jail in Rawalpindi, the garrison city near the capital, Islamabad, where authorities were to debrief them before allowing them to return to their homes, Sherpao said.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chito Peppler confirmed that two Pakistani detainees were sent home from Guantanamo Bay over the weekend. A detainee from Bahrain and another from Iran were also transferred to their home countries, he said.

Fourteen Pakistanis remain in Bagram and five are being held at Guantanamo, the minister said, adding efforts were being made to secure their release.

The releases follow efforts by Pakistani officials, who had been trying for months to secure the detainees' freedom.

Previously, another 68 Pakistanis had been freed from Guantanamo Bay after spending years in custody and later being cleared without formally being charged.

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