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While you were paying attention to the Chinese spy balloon floating over the continental U.S., the Biden administration was quietly releasing a detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferring him to Belize.
Majid Khan, a Pakistani citizen who was granted asylum in 1998 and allowed to attend high school near Baltimore, was the detention facility’s only known legal U.S. resident.
He returned to his native Pakistan in 2002 and joined the terrorist organization, Al Queda.
Khan was a “direct subordinate to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, often known as KSM, Al Qaeda’s senior operational planner and the principal architect of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” according to a Defense Department detainee assessment.
The transfer occurred on Thursday and NBC reports that the Biden administration has plans to transfer at least “two more in the coming weeks, according to two senior U.S. officials and a former senior administration official.”
Khan is the first detainee to be resettled by the current administration and one of the few to land somewhere in the Western Hemisphere.
Khan issued a statement following his release. He said, “I have been given a second chance in life and intend to make the most of it.
“I deeply regret the things that I did many years ago, and I have taken responsibility and tried to make up for them.
“I continue to ask for forgiveness from God and those that I have hurt. I am truly sorry.”
Khan continued, “The world has changed a lot in 20 years and I have changed as well. I promise all of you, especially the people of Belize, that I will be a productive, law-abiding member of society.
“Thank you for believing in me, and I will not let you down. My actions will speak louder than my words.”
Speaking on his behalf, his legal team thanked Belize officials for “offering him a chance to begin a new life.”
A senior lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights praised Belize for their role in Khan’s release. Wells Dixon said, “Belize has done an outstanding job to prepare for his resettlement, and their success serves as a model for other countries to accept men who no one thinks should remain at Guantanamo, but who cannot return to their home countries for humanitarian reasons.”
Why was Khan in the Guantanamo Bay detention center for 16 years?
According to U.S. documents, Khan was directed by KSM to deliver money and transport a senior Al Queda member to execute a deadly attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, in August 2003 where ten people died.
It was also alleged that KSM planned to use Khan to attack gas stations and water reservoirs in the U.S.
Khan’s arrest came in March 2003 in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi. He was reportedly taken to a CIA black site.
In 2006, then-President George W. Bush announced that Khan was among 14 other “high-value detainees” being transferred to Guantanamo Bay to “face the military tribunal system.”
According to the Daily Mail, following Khan’s release “the number of prisoners at Guantanamo is down to just 34 from a high of 660.”