U.S. Government Sends 4 Guantanamo Prisoners Back to Afghanistan

(We can't kill them at Guantanamo. In Afghanistan we get another shot at 'em. JD2 )

The United States released four Guantanamo Bay prisoners to their home country of Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Saturday. Defense officials said Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir were approved for transfer by the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force, which considers security issues and other factors in intensive reviews of possible releases.

"This repatriation reflects the Defense Department's continued commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo in a responsible manner," said Paul Lewis, the Defense Department's special envoy for the closure of Guantanamo. The transfer "demonstrates Afghan sovereignty and U.S. trust in the strength of Afghan government institutions," said a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The statement added that officials were confident that the Afghan administration has the "ability to mitigate any threats these individuals may pose."

The move is the latest in a series of prisoner transfers as President Obama tries to reduce the number of those held at Guantanamo and works toward his goal of closing the detention center. Obama vowed as a presidential candidate to close Guantanamo. The remaining number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay is 132. Administration officials, speaking to The Associated Press on a condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, say more transfers are expected in the coming weeks.