Military Wiki
Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost
عبد الرحیم مسلم دوست
File:Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost.jpg
Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, in 2005
Born January 1, 1960[1]
Place of birth Jalalabad, Afghanistan
Allegiance 23x15px Taliban
Islamic State
(September 2014–Present)
Rank Regional commander of Islamic State forces in Afghanistan
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
War in Afghanistan (2015–present)

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost (Urdu: عبد الرحیم مسلم دوست) is an Afghan journalist and jeweller[2] who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[3]

In 2014, he became a member of the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levants Afghanistan branch.[4]

2001 detention[]

Muslim Dost and his brother were captured on November 17, 2001, and later released on 17 April 2005 with no charges held against him.[5][6] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 561

The allegations against Muslim Dost, in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, was that he was a member of the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran (JDQ) militant group, and served as a contact between that group and Al Qaeda. Muslim Dost acknowledged being a member of JDQ, but said he joined long ago, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[2][7] Muslim Dost's brother was also a journalist; was also a held in extrajudicial detention in Guantanamo; was also released by the Americans following his Tribunal. Their presence in Guantanamo was discussed in the press prior the Department of Defense released the official list of detainee identities.

Just as the heart beats in the darkness of the body, so I, despite this cage, continue to beat with life. Those who have no courage or honour consider themselves free, but they are slaves. I am flying on the wings of thought, and so, even in this cage, I know a greater freedom.

—Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost[8]

He has been noted for his poetry while detained by the American government and the lengths he went through to record it, ranging from scratching with a spoon onto polystyrene teacups to using rubbery pens, and has received much esteem in this regard. His account on his stay at Guantanamo, The Broken Chains, is currently being translated into English.[citation needed]

Determined not to have been an enemy combatant[]

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost was one of the 38 captives the Bush Presidency determined had not been enemy combatants after all.[9] The Department of Defense refers to these men as No Longer Enemy Combatants.

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost was freed on April 20, 2005 with sixteen other Afghans whose Tribunals had determined they were not enemy combatants. The Associated Press reported that their release ceremony was addressed by Afghan Chief Justice Fazl Hadi Shinwari.[10] Carlotta Gall of the New York Times reported that the Chief Justice encouraged the men to regard their detention as something sent from God.[11] The reports stated that the Chief Justice warned the cleared men that a candid description of their detention could damage the chances of other Afghan captives to be released.

"Don't tell these people the stories of your time in prison because the government is trying to secure the release of others, and it may harm the release of your friends."

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost was one of the three captives who chose to address the Press.[11] Carlotta Gall described him as openly disagreeing with the Chief Justice as to whether any Afghans should have been sent to Guantanamo:

"If we have the government, our government should bring the criminals here. They should be imprisoned here and should be punished here. Why were the Afghans given to the Americans?"[11]
"We spent more than 3½ years there. If there is a government and a Supreme Court in Afghanistan, why did nobody ask about our situation? If we were guilty we ought to have been brought to stand trial here. Why should America be allowed to ask us questions and interrogate us?"[10]

Both reports quoted Chief Justice Fazil Hadi Shinwari distinguishing three categories of captives:[10][11]

"There are three kinds of prisoners in Guantanamo. There are those that have committed crimes and should be there, then there are people who were falsely denounced, and third there are those who are there because of the mistakes of the Americans."

Combatant Status Review Tribunal[]

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a trailer the size of a large RV. The captive sat with his hands cuffed and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.[12] Three chairs were reserved for members of the press, but only 37 of the 574 Tribunals were observed.[13]

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently, the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants—rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Summary of Evidence memo[]

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for

Abdul Rahim Muslimdost's

Combatant Status Review Tribunal,

on 29 September 2004.[14]

The memo listed the following allegations against him:

The detainee is associated with forces that engaged in hostilities against the United States and its coalition partners.
  1. The detainee voluntarily traveled to Afghanistan in August 2001.
  2. The detainee was a member of Jamaat ud Dawa il al Quran al Sunnat [sic] (JDQ).
  3. Jamyat-u-Dawa-al-Quarani [sic] (JDQ) conducted training with several types of weapons in the Abdullah Abu Masood camp.
  4. The JDQ is a militant religious school which trains students in military camps as well as classrooms. The JDQ has a militant wing and an assassination wing.
  5. The detainee reportedly was an Al Qaeda point of contact in Herat, Afghanistan.


Muslimdost chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[15]

On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a sixteen-page summarized transcript from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[16]

According to Fox News, the US considered Muslim Dost "too old and sick to get back in the fight" and his intelligence value had been "maxed out".[17]

2006 Pakistan arrest[]

On September 30, 2006 the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Muslim Dost had been arrested by Pakistani officials.[18] The article quotes Muslim Dost's brother, who linked the arrest to criticisms of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate's role in the capture of Guantanamo detainees. Muslim Dost's brother said he was arrested while leaving his Mosque. Local Peshawar Police Superintendent Iftikhar Khan denied any knowledge of Muslim Dost's arrest, but acknowledged Inter-Services Intelligence officials may have executed a covert arrest.[18] In 2008, Muslim Dost was released from detention as part of a prisoner swap between the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani Taliban, who had been holding Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan and others hostage.[19]

As Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant recruiter[]

In July 2014, Abdul Raheem Muslim Dost swore allegiance to the leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[20] In September 2014 he began acting as an ISIL recruiter for its Khorasan branch (a historical name for a region including parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia). He is credited with helping ISIL by recruiting fighters and distributing ISIL propaganda booklets in parts of the Afghan-Pakistan tribal belt and in some Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar and the Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan.

In a video released in 2014, Dost claimed to have had a vision about the reestablishment of the Caliphate.[17][21] While admitting to being a supporter of ISIL, he has denied being a commander of the group.[22]

See also[]

  • Poems From Guantánamo

DoJ Memorandum


  1. "Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost". Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sketches of Guantanamo Detainees-Part I, WTOP, March 15, 2006
  3. OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  4. "Guantanamo's Afghans Return to Different Lives". 27 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  5. Prisoner profile from
  6. Return my work, says Guantánamo poet, Guardian Unlimited, April 3, 2006
  7. "Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost". 
  8. "Voices of Guantanamo gathered in poetry book". CBC News. June 21, 2007. 
  9. "Detainees Found to No Longer Meet the Definition of "Enemy Combatant" during Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. November 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "17 Afghans, Turk home from Guantanamo Bay". China Daily. 2005-04-20. Retrieved 2008-04-18. "Pentagon spokesman Maj. Michael Shavers said the 17 Afghans and the Turkish man had been cleared of accusations they were enemy combatants during the Combatant Status Review Tribunal process that recently ended. Five others cleared in late March already had been sent home and another 15 await transfers home." 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Carlotta Gall (2005-04-20). "17 Afghans Freed From Guantánamo Prison". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18. "In a brief ceremony, Chief Justice Fazil Hadi Shinwari told the 17 men that they were free to return home and he tried to reconcile them to the idea their imprisonment was something sent from God. Some prisoners in Guantánamo were guilty and deserved to be imprisoned, he said, but others were innocent victims of false accusations or military mistakes, or were duped into supporting terrorism." 
  12. Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  13. "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". United States Department of Defense. March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  14. OARDEC (29 September 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Muslimdost, Abdul Rahim". United States Department of Defense. p. 82. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  15. OARDEC (date redacted). "Summarized Statement". United States Department of Defense. pp. 1–16. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  16. "US releases Guantanamo files". The Age. April 4, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Released Gitmo detainee joins ISIS Nov. 19, 2014 - 2:30 - Former Taliban commander named chief of ISIS in Khorasa". Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pakistan arrests freed Guantanamo Afghan scholar, Xinhua, September 30, 2006
  19. "Pakistan frees former Guantanamo prisoner, Afghan Taliban commander". The Long War Journal. 
  20. "Gitmo 'Poet' Now Recruiting for Islamic State". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  21. "Local support for dreaded Islamic State growing in Pakistan: Report". Times of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  22. "ISIS Targets Afghanistan Just as the U.S. Quits". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 

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