A former Guantanamo detainee “was identified as an Iraqi intelligence officer who relocated to Afghanistan (AF) in 1998 where he served as a senior Taliban Intelligence Directorate officer in Mazar-E-Sharif,” according to a recently leaked assessment written by American intelligence analysts. The former detainee, an Iraqi named Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, “admittedly forged official documents and reportedly provided liaison between the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Sadkhan’s al Qaeda ties reached all the way to Osama bin Laden, according to the intelligence assessment. He reportedly received money from Osama bin Laden both before and after the September 11 attacks.
Identification by senior al Qaeda member
In Afghanistan, Sadkhan served under another Iraqi al Qaeda member: Abdul Hadi al Iraqi. According to the Gitmo analysts’ assessment, al Iraqi “identified [Sadkhan] in a letter as an Iraqi intelligence officer who relocated to Afghanistan where he was associated with Taliban and al-Qaida leadership.”
Abdul Hadi al Iraqi’s identification of Sadkhan is especially important. Al Iraqi was a major in Saddam Hussein’s military before relocating to Afghanistan, where he became one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants in the 1990s. Al Iraqi led al Qaeda’s elite Arab 055 Brigade, which fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In addition to being a top al Qaeda and Taliban military commander, al Iraqi was also involved in al Qaeda’s international operations. For example, al Iraqi met with two of the July 7, 2005 London bombers in northern Pakistan. Although the two had volunteered to fight against coalition forces in Afghanistan or Iraq, al Iraqi recognized their potential for committing attacks in the West and repurposed them for the 7/7 operation.
Thus, Sadkhan’s relationship with al Iraqi deserves closer scrutiny.
Abdul Hadi al Iraqi’s identification of Sadkhan came in a letter that al Iraqi wrote in November 1998. The letter was addressed to another senior al Qaeda leader, Saif al Adel, who sits on al Qaeda’s military committee. In the letter, al Iraqi identified Sadkhan by one of his aliases, Mullah Abdullah, and said that Sadkhan was “a former Iraqi intelligence officer or warrant officer” who was employed as an interrogator by the Taliban’s intelligence directorate.
The letter indicates that both al Iraqi and Saif al Adel “were personally acquainted with” Sadkhan and that Sadkhan “was part of a group of Iraqis that were involved in un-Islamic activities.”
The leaked intelligence assessment does not identify what “un-Islamic activities” Sadkhan was involved in, but it may have included his ruthless efforts to recruit fighters for the Taliban’s cause.
Sadkhan “coerced immigrants into service upon threat of imprisonment and torture,” according to the U.S. government’s reporting, and also “employed a team of interrogators who beat and tortured Shiite and Uzbeki prisoners.” According to some reports, Sadkhan’s fighting group also indiscriminately killed Afghan women and children. American analysts concluded that Sadkhan was involved in the Taliban’s narcotics trade, as well.
Whatever Sadkhan’s “un-Islamic activities” were, it did not stop al Qaeda’s senior members from working with him. Abdul Hadi al Iraqi’s driver identified Sadkhan as one of his boss’s “close associates.”
In addition, an unnamed “senior Afghan military officer” identified Sadkhan as one of “several commanders of al Qaeda and Chechen forces in the Mazar-e-Sharif area prior to the November 2001 fall of Mazar-e-Sharif to US and Coalition forces.” A Gitmo analyst noted that the Afghan officer’s report indicated that Sadkhan had a “commanding role with al Qaeda and militant forces” in late 2001. Other sources confirmed that Sadkhan continued to serve in the Taliban’s and al Qaeda’s ranks.
Sadkhan’s relationship with Saddam’s regime did not end either, according to the Gitmo files. Although Sadkhan claimed to have fled Iraq in 1997, he allegedly continued to work with Saddam’s regime.
“Conduits” to Saddam’s regime
At least three Guantanamo detainees identified Sadkhan as a henchman for Saddam Hussein.