What do detainees do when they’ve been released from Guantanamo? Well, Izatullah Nusrat decided to run for office. What would it mean for Afghan-American relations if Nusrat wins? WGBH News reports:
Izatullah Nusrat, 42, was held at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo for nearly five years. Now he is back in Afghanistan and running for election to Parliament in the Sept. 18 election. Nusrat has harsh words for Americans, but he favors working with the current government over the Taliban and says he wants the fighting to stop.
So far, not many clear themes have emerged in the campaign for the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections.
But one candidate has an interesting distinction: He is the only former Guantanamo detainee running for office.
Anti-American, Anti-Karzai Sentiment
Campaigning is in full swing, but that’s not what is bringing people into the streets these days in Kabul. Anti-American sentiment is strong in Afghanistan, particularly among people outraged over recent incidents in which civilians have been injured and killed.
It’s a current many politicians might like to harness. And there may be no candidate better positioned than Izatullah Nusrat, a 42-year-old village elder from Sorobi, east of Kabul.
Nusrat says he used to believe the Americans were good people. But that was before U.S. soldiers arrested him and his 80-year-old father in March 2003 and sent them to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“When they took me to the airplane, when they shaved my beard, I realized that Americans are the most cruel people in the world, and they’re very stupid. Someone whose crime is not proved, so you destroy his whole life. And in the world you claim that you are the protector of the human rights, and you’re doing such actions with a human being,” Nusrat says.
Continues at WGBH News …