President Biden has declared he wants to end the war in Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this year. In an interview, Biden has said he intends to close the Guantanamo Bay prison opened in 2002, but it’s unclear what will happen to the detainees held there. Traditionally, when conflicts end, wartime detainees are sent back to their home countries. In the case of Guantanamo Bay, detainees were allowed to be held indefinitely and without trial as long as they received a fair hearing. This option was a humanitarian alternative to killing these captives. The problem is that no one thought the war in Afghanistan would turn into a “forever war”, and currently the legal basis could be questionable if the U.S. will no longer be involved in active combat in Afghanistan. Lawyers for two of the forty remaining prisoners have claimed the authority to detain their clients is no longer legal. One of these two detainees is Khalid Qassim from Yemen, who was an al-Qaeda trainee. The other is Asadullah Haroon Gul from Afghanistan who is affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Personally I don’t think it is a good idea for the Biden administration to close and empty out Guantanamo. I think that of the forty detainees left there are still some very dangerous people that should not be released and keeping the prison open would allow for more potentially extreme terrorists of today to be captured and placed there. Releasing potentially high ranking or respected al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists back to their home countries sounds like a terrorists’ dream. They will most likely run right back to their organization, making U.S. efforts counterproductive.

-Marissa Fedora