Pakistan: bin Laden Bodyguard Back On the Street

Osama bin Laden escorted by the Black Guard. Long War Journal

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Pakistan, being helpful:

Pakistan has freed a senior al Qaeda commander who served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, according to a report from the region.

Dr. Amin al Haq, who served as the security coordinator of Osama bin Laden’s Black Guard, was recently released by Pakistani authorities, according to a report in the Afghan Islamic Press, a jihadist news organization based in Peshawar. Al Haq was released from Pakistani custody several weeks ago, his family members told the Afghan Islamic Press. According to the report, Pakistani officials released him as his connections to al Qaeda “could not be proved,” and he is also “not in good health.”

On al Haq’s apparently unproveable connection to Al Qaeda, American intelligence would beg to differ. Haq, a physician, was reportedly detained in Lahore by the ISI back in December 2008. He was a member of the Hizb-i Islami Khalis (HIK), one of the key mujahadeen groups that defeated the Soviets during the 1980s. HIK also helped bring bin Laden to Afghanistan after he was ejected from Sudan in 1996. And Haq himself reportedly accompanied bin Laden in his escape from Tora Bora in 2001.

Let’s face it: Pakistan’s national security bureaucracy has had a pretty rough year, with its intelligence service and military still reeling from the ridicule they’ve endured (and invited) since the bin Laden raid. Freeing a terrorist is, frankly, unsurprising behavior for such a partner.

But putting bin Laden’s bodyguard back on the streets? That takes balls. And, like most things the Pakistani government does—like throwing CIA operatives out following the Raymond Davis affair—it’s intended to send yet another petty, potentially deadly message to the US, just one more in a long, pointless list: You can fight your wars here, but don’t expect us to be happy about it.

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