WASHINGTON : The US is considering putting on trial a Russian captured while fighting for the Taliban and now held near a US base in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported late Tuesday. The administration of President Barack Obama is considering using a military commission to try the man, about which little is known except his nom de guerre Irek Hamidullan, the newspaper said, quoting former and current US officials.
The Russian is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He deserted and ended up fighting American forces that invaded the country to oust the Taliban after the September 11, 2011 attacks in the United States, the paper said. It quoted officials as saying the man is believed to be in his mid to late 50s and suspected of involvement in several attacks in 2009 in which US troops were killed or wounded.
He is being held at a US military detention facility near Bagram air base.
The man was wounded during an attack in 2009 on an Afghan border post and captured, the Post said.
It would be unprecedented for the United States to bring a post 9/11 detainee before a military tribunal in the United States.
The Post said this could lead to a showdown with Congress, which forbids transferring detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects in Cuba to the United States.
No such restriction has been placed on detainees in Afghanistan largely because the issue has never arisen.
But now the United States, which is nearing a deadline for drawing down US forces in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, has to decide what to do with several dozen non-Afghan prisoners still held when it turned over thousands of Afghan prisoners to the Kabul government under a March accord, the Post said.
There are 53 such remaining third country nationals and they are deemed to be a continuing threat to the United States, the Post said, quoting US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.