Breaking: Americans nab high-value Osama lieutenant

The US captured an al-Qaeda terrorist who played an instrumental role in helping Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan after 9/11. Mohammed Rahim now sits in a Guantanamo Bay cell after his capture, arriving there this week, although the CIA won’t say when or where they caught him:

The Pentagon says authorities have captured a high-level al-Qaida figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001.

Officials declined to say when or where Mohammad Rahim was captured — announcing only that he was handed over by the CIA to the Pentagon earlier this week and is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

This must be a different Mohammed Rahim than the one already at Gitmo for several years. That Rahim has been charged with being the chief of logistics for the Taliban as well as a member of its intelligence service. He has denied all charges, but the US believed it had sufficient evidence to continue his detention after a tribunal in December 2004.

Pakistan’s The Nation reported the capture of a Mohammed Rahim two months ago:

Aminul Haq, a leading Al-Qaeda fugitive from Afghanistan and a close associate of late Afghan Jihadi leader Maulvi Younas Khalis, was apprehended from Lahore couple of days back, disclosed some credible Afghan sources.

Through these sources, TheNation came to know about the arrest of Dr Aminul Haq by the intelligence and law-enforcing agencies from an undisclosed area in Lahore. At present, Dr Aminul Haq is under interrogation somewhere in the country, the sources added.

Dr Amin is the second leading Al-Qaeda operative from Afghanistan apprehended in Lahore. Earlier, Mohammad Rahim, an alleged Al-Qaeda fugitive, who had worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver for couple of years in Afghanistan was also arrested from Lahore.

Perhaps the capture of Haq might be more significant. Rahim sounds more like the kind of connection the US needs to track Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri rather than stop another attack. Still, the significance of the two-month delay in announcing his capture indicates that the CIA thought Rahim could reveal some interesting information.

Update (AP): Actually, it looks from this article in the Nation like they’ve had him since August. That six-month delay to turn him over to the Pentagon is about the same time it took for Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi to end up at Gitmo after he was captured.