Abdul-Haq Wassiq

Abdul-Haq Wassiq is a U.N.-sanctioned Taliban senior leader based in Qatar. During the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule in Afghanistan, Wassiq served as the Deputy Director General of Intelligence. Wassiq was in charge of directing domestic investigations, overseeing all of the Taliban’s activities in Kabul as they related to Osama bin Laden, maintaining relations with al-Qaeda-affiliated foreign fighters, and overseeing al-Qaeda’s training camps.“Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing: TAi.082ABDUL-HAQ WASSIQ,” U.N. Security Council, January 31, 2001, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/abdul-haq-wassiq;
“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, 2, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf.
Wassiq was captured by U.S. forces in November 2001 and detained in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention center from January 2002 to May 2014.“Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing: TAi.082ABDUL-HAQ WASSIQ,” U.N. Security Council, January 31, 2001, 3, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/abdul-haq-wassiq. He was one of five Taliban senior leaders transferred to Qatar as part of the Qatar-mediated exchange for captive U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf.

According to a December 2015 report by the Committee on Armed Services, Wassiq had “many contacts with other high ranking Taliban officials,” including former Taliban emir (leader) Mullah Omar.“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, 2, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf. The U.S. National Intelligence Council said that Wassiq has not historically wielded considerable influence in the Taliban but was nonetheless considered a “capable and trusted Taliban official.”“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, 2, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf.

On May 31, 2014, Wassiq was transferred from the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar alongside four other Taliban detainees. The move came as part of a negotiated exchange for the release of U.S. captive soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. At the time of the their transfer, the so-called Taliban Five—including Wassiq—were considered to be sufficiently dangerous as to require them to remain in detention.“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf. Although the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and Qatar was classified regarding the terms for Taliban detainees released to Qatar, the U.S. Armed Forces Committee was able to note that the MOU specified “monitoring” efforts to be undertaken by Qatar, as well as the prohibition against detainees’ “travel outside Qatar,” “engaging in conduct that will raise money for prohibited causes,” and “threatening American interests.”“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, 76, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf.

The U.S. Committee on Armed Services determined in December 2015 that members of the Taliban Five have been engaged in “threatening activities” since their transfer to Qatar “not unlike their activities before they were detained on the battlefield.”“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf. In January 2015, the U.S. Pentagon said that there was reason to believe that “at least one” member of the Taliban Five was involved in “some activities… centered around potential reengagement.” In March 2015, a news outlet reported that “at least three of the five Taliban leaders… have tried to plug back into their old terror networks.”“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, 75, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf.

As of 2015, Taliban leaders were reportedly living in an exclusive neighborhood in suburban Doha, receiving luxury SUVs, free medical care, air-conditioned homes “the size of small castles,” and fresh produce delivered daily to their homes, according to a report by Newsweek journalist Sami Yousafzai.Sami Yousafzai, “Taliban Leaders Are Living in Luxury in Qatar,” Newsweek, March 24, 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/2015/04/03/taliban-leaders-are-living-luxury-qatar-316122.html.

 

United Nations

January 31, 2001

The United Nations sanctioned Abdul-Haq Wassiq as an individual associated with the Taliban.“Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing: TAi.082 ABDUL-HAQ WASSIQ,” U.N. Security Council, January 31, 2001, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/abdul-haq-wassiq.

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