(MENAFN) Two Afghan prisoners who had been held in U.S. custody for over 14 years at the Guantanamo Bay detention center since 2002 have been released from house arrest in Oman, announced a Taliban spokesman on Sunday. Abdul Zahir Saber and Abdul Karim were freed from their prolonged confinement due to efforts spearheaded by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, according to Abdul Mateen Qani, a spokesman for the Taliban's interior ministry.
Senior Taliban officials took to social media to share photographs of Saber and Karim along with messages of felicitation. Qani further disclosed that an official welcome ceremony is being arranged in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, for their anticipated return on Monday.
The two individuals were detained at Guantanamo until 2017 when they were subsequently transferred to Oman, where they spent the ensuing seven years under house arrest, barred from traveling.
The Guantanamo Bay detention center was established by the United States under Leader George W. Bush in January 2002 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan. Initially intended to detain and interrogate individuals suspected of affiliations with al-Qaida or the Taliban, who provided refuge to Osama bin Laden, the center eventually housed numerous suspects from various countries. Over time, reports emerged regarding the mistreatment and torture of detainees, tarnishing the facility's reputation.
Saber, originally hailing from the province of Logar, was apprehended by American forces on May 10, 2002, before being transferred to Bagram prison near Kabul four months later, according to Qani's account.
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