PJM explains that we are supporting, among others, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi who fought American troops in Afghanistan and recruited Libyans to fight American troops in Iraq.
Shortly after unrest broke out in eastern Libya in mid-February, reports emerged that an â€œIslamic Emirateâ€ had been declared in the eastern Libyan town of Darnah and that, furthermore, the alleged head of that Emirate, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, was a former detainee at the American prison camp in GuantÃ¡namo. The reports, which originated from Libyan government sources, were largely ignored or dismissed in the Western media.
Now, however, al-Hasadi has admitted in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that he fought against American forces in Afghanistan. (Hat-tip: Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard.) Al-Hasadi says that he is the person responsible for the defense of Darnah â€” not the townâ€™s â€œEmir.â€ In a previous interview with Canadaâ€™s Globe and Mail, he claimed to have a force of about 1,000 men and to have commanded rebel units in battles around the town of Bin Jawad.
â€œI have never been at GuantÃ¡namo,â€ al-Hasadi explained to Il Sole 24 Ore. â€œI was captured in 2002 in Peshawar in Pakistan, while I was returning from Afghanistan where I fought against the foreign invasion. I was turned over to the Americans, detained for a few months in Islamabad, then turned over to Libya and released from prison in 2008.â€ …
In his more recent remarks to Il Sole 24 Ore, al-Hasadi admits not only to fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but also to recruiting Libyans to fight against American forces in Iraq. As noted in my earlier PJM report here, captured al-Qaeda personnel records show that al-Hasadiâ€™s hometown of Darnah sent more foreign fighters to fight with al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other foreign city or town and â€œfar and away the largest per capita number of fighters.â€ Al-Hasadi told Il Sole 24 Ore that he personally recruited â€œaround 25â€ Libyans to fight in Iraq. â€œSome have come back and today are on the front at Ajdabiya,â€ al-Hasadi explained, â€œThey are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists.â€ â€œThe members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader,â€ al-Hasadi added.