Taliban ambassador wielded power within Guantanamo

Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, was dragged out of his Islamabad house and shipped to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo. He helped orchestrate hunger strikes and exploit the missteps of a U.S. detention system that often captured the wrong men, mistreated them, then incarcerated them indefinitely without legal recourse.

The insurgency he helped launch in Guantanamo capitalized on the Americans' ignorance of Islamic customs and a pattern of interrupting prayers, shaving off prisoners' beards and searching their copies of the Quran.

U.S. officials didn't respond to repeated requests for comments about Zaeef's role at the camp, but former detainees from Europe to Central Asia spoke of him with reverence that bordered on hero worship.