The United States has transferred two brothers from the Guantanamo Bay US detention facility in Cuba to Pakistan, bringing the total number of people held at Guantanamo to 32, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Republican President George W. Bush established the Guantanamo camp in 2002 to hold foreign terrorism suspects following the 2001 hijacked plane attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people.
It came to symbolize the excesses of the US “war on terror” due to harsh interrogation methods, which critics said amounted to torture.
There were 40 detainees when President Joe Biden, a Democrat, took office in 2021. Biden has said he hopes to close the facility. The federal government is prohibited by law from transferring Guantanamo detainees to US mainland prisons.
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the repatriation of Abdul Rabbani and Mohammad Rabbani to Pakistan.
Both were arrested in 2002. Abdul Rabbani was al Qaeda’s facilitator while Mohammed Rabbani was a financial and travel facilitator for prominent al Qaeda leaders, according to the Pentagon’s website.
“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government of Pakistan and other partners to responsibly support US efforts focused on reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
A total of 32 detainees remain, 18 of whom are eligible for transfer, the Pentagon said in its statement.