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article imageLeader of the 'Pakistani Taliban' was released by U.S. in 2005

By Ralph Lopez     Dec 16, 2014 in World
As the world reels from the brutal attack upon schoolchildren in Pakistan by the group known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, unclassified CIA documents show that a key former leader of the group was in U.S. custody and released from Guantanamo in 2004.
Abdullah Mehsud was a clansman of the purported founder of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud. The George W. Bush administration approved the release.
At that time, a little-known CIA program was being run at Guantanamo known as "Penny Lane," which was designed to turn key prisoners into CIA assets. A segment of the Pakistani press maintains that Tehrik-i-Taliban is, or at least began as, a CIA asset.
In 2013 the Associated Press reported:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the Guantanamo Bay prison, hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus, sits a closely held secret...In these buildings, CIA officers turned terrorists into double agents and sent them home.
Abdullah Mehsud spent 25 months in Guantanamo, where he was fitted with a prosthetic limb before he was released. After his release, Mehsud wasted no time and immediately set to recruiting his tribesmen to fight US, NATO, and Pakistani government forces. Mehsud played a key role in building the organization.
Prior to the 2013 AP report, the existence of such a camp as Penny Lane had been a closely guarded secret.
Abdullah Mehsud was killed 2007. His clansman, the reputed founder of Tehrik-i-Taliban, Bailtullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike in 2013, at his $120,000 mansion in South Waziristan, Pakistan. Of the double agents produced at Penny Lane, the AP reported:
All were promised money. Exactly how much each was paid remains unclear. But altogether, the government paid millions of dollars for their services, officials said. The money came from a secret CIA account, codenamed Pledge...
In the Joint Task Force Guantanamo report "JTF-GTMO Information on Detainees" dated March 4, 2005, the report states:
We know of several former detainees from JTF-GTMO that have rejoined the fight against coalition forces. We have been able to identify at least ten by name. Press reporting indicates al Qaida-linked militants recently kidnapped two Chinese engineers and that former detainee Abdullah Mahsud (sic) their reputed leader, ordered the kidnapping...Mahsud, now reputed to be a militant leader, claimed to be an office clerk and driver for the Taliban from 1996 to 1998 or 1999. He consistently denied having any affiliation with al Qaida.
Declassified document  JTF-GTMO  March 4  2005
Declassified document, JTF-GTMO, March 4, 2005
The entry refers to an episode in 2004 in which Abdullah Mehsud's tribesmen kidnapped two Chinese engineers.
On Tuesday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed credit for an attack at a school in Peshawar which left 141 people dead, 132 of which were children.
The Afghan Taliban itself was a product of US support for the Mujihadeen before, during, and after the Soviet invasion of 1979.
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