Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef (born 1968 in Kandahar) was the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan before the US invasion of Afghanistan.
He was detained in Pakistan in the fall of 2001 and held until 2005 in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp. The United Nations removed Zaeef from its list of terrorists in July 2010.
Zaeef is the founder and head of Afghan Foundation.
Capture and detention
Some time after the U.S. invasion, Zaeef was forced to end his news conferences, seized by Pakistani authorities, and handed over to American operatives. The Pajhwok Afghan News reported that Zaeef was freed from Guantanamo Bay.
Zaeef was released from Guantanamo in the summer of 2005.
An article in the 18 September 2005 Daily Times Zaeef is quoted as saying that his release was "due to the effort of some friends". He did not attribute his release to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal or his 2005 Administrative Review Board hearing. He described the actions of these two bodies as illegal.
Zaeef claims he was chained in illegal "stress positions" and subjected to sleep deprivation and extremes of temperature while held in the USA's Bagram Theater Detention Facility.
Call for a unity government
On Friday 6 June 2008 The Guardian published excerpts from an interview with Zaeef. It reported he claimed negotiations with the Taliban was the key to peace. And it reported he argued that the presence of foreign troops eroded the authority of the central government:
Move to Kabul
An article in Der Spiegel on 12 April 2007, reported that Zaeef had moved into a "...handsome guest house, located in the dusty modern neighborhood Khosh Hal Khan." The article in Der Spiegel goes on to state that the new home Karzai's government has provided Zaeef is around the corner from one occupied by former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil. Der Spiegel described Zaeef's home as being guarded, inside and out, by a heavily armed security detail. Der Spiegel described both Zaeef and Muttawakil as regarded as among the more moderate former members of the Taliban.
Zaeff told the Chicago Tribune that Afghan security officials would not allow him to attend the mosque near his Kabul home.