The family of the last Afghan held at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, called for his release on Wednesday at a press conference in Kabul.
Muhammad Rahim was one of hundreds of suspected militants captured by US forces during the United States’ “war on terror” and held in a secret prison.
US authorities faced accusations of torture and abuse against prisoners at the facility, where many were held without charge or the legal power to challenge their detention.
Most of the inmates have been released over the years, including senior Taliban leaders, but Rahim remains.
“I urge the American authorities and leaders to release my son,” said Rahim’s mother, Safoora Bibi, breaking down in tears.
Rahim’s family said he was arrested in Pakistan in 2007.
The US government transferred Rahim in 2008 to Guantanamo Bay, according to a Pentagon announcement cited by Amnesty International at the time.
The CIA accused him of being a close associate of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
His family said they still do not know why he was arrested.
Rahim’s uncle, Muhammad Ali, called on Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities to work for his release.
“We want the Islamic Emirate to listen to us; they are now the government,” he told reporters, using the Taliban’s formal name for Afghanistan.
“They should serve their people; we call on them as well to tell the United States to release him.”
In June last year, Afghan Asadullah Haroon was freed from Guantanamo Bay after 15 years following negotiations between Washington and Taliban authorities.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has been working to reduce the number of detainees and eventually shut down Guantanamo Bay, which lies on the island of Cuba but is under US jurisdiction.
“We see on social media that Pakistanis and nationals of other countries who were prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been released and handed over to their respective governments,” said one of Rahim’s children, Muhammad Ismail.
“We have a government too and want him to be handed over to this government so that if he has indeed committed any crime, this government can punish him.”