The United States is committed to responsibly reducing the detainee population at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and ultimately closing it.
On July 19, the Pentagon announced that Abdul Latif Nasir, a Moroccan citizen who had been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2002, was transferred to the Kingdom of Morocco. Nasir had been captured in Afghanistan and was accused by the U.S. government of fighting with the Taliban and serving as a weapons trainer for al-Qaida.
In a statement, the Pentagon said that in 2016, the Periodic Review Board process determined that Nasir’s detention was no longer “necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” Under the previous U.S. administration, which opposed closing the facility at Guantanamo, however, almost all detainee transfers were halted. Abdul Nasir is the first detainee to be repatriated to his country of origin since President Biden took office.
At a press briefing, White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “Our goal is to close Guantanamo Bay.” She noted that after the transfer of Nasir, there are “39 detainees who remain.… Ten are eligible for transfer, 17 are eligible for a Periodic Review Board, 10 are involved in the military commissions process and 2 detainees have been convicted.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price praised Morocco’s role in Nasir’s transfer, saying in a statement, “Morocco’s leadership in facilitating Nasir’s repatriation, alongside its past willingness to return its foreign terrorist fighters from northeast Syria, should encourage other nations to repatriate their citizens who have traveled to fight for terrorist organizations abroad.”
Asked when the ten detainees who have been deemed eligible for transfer by the Periodic Review Board may be moved, White House Spokesperson Psaki said, “I don’t have a timeline for you. As you know, there’s a process…and we are considering all available avenues to responsibly transfer detainees and, of course, close Guantanamo Bay.”