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Out of Guantanamo and Bitter Toward Bin Laden

Khalid al-Hubayshi, who interviewed for a job with Osama bin Laden in the summer of 2001, now works as a controller at a Saudi utilities firm. He says of bin Laden, "There was no dignity in what he made us do."
Khalid al-Hubayshi, who interviewed for a job with Osama bin Laden in the summer of 2001, now works as a controller at a Saudi utilities firm. He says of bin Laden, "There was no dignity in what he made us do." (By Faiza Saleh Ambah -- The Washington Post)
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"Bin Laden was convinced the Americans would come down and fight. We spent five weeks like that, manning our positions in case the Americans landed," he said.

As the airstrikes moved closer, and with the United States' Afghan allies advancing, bin Laden decided to retreat and left one morning. His aides told 300 Arab fighters to make their way to Pakistan and surrender to their embassies.

Pakistani authorities stopped the fighters near the border and handed them over to the U.S. military, which sent them to Guantanamo Bay.

Hubayshi remains bitter about what he considers bin Laden's betrayal: calling the fighters to Tora Bora and then abandoning them there. "The whole way to Cuba, I prayed the plane would fall," he said. "There was no dignity in what he made us do."

Hubayshi said he is sorry that Muslims carried out the Sept. 11 attacks because they targeted civilians: "That was wrong. Jihad is fighting soldier to soldier."

His wife of one year said she had been looking for a husband who did not take drugs or drink alcohol, who was polite and had a kind mother. "He is a very good husband," the 26-year-old said on condition that her name not be published. Some segments of Saudi society follow strict social codes that deem it shameful for a woman's name to be made public.

In all the years he spent trying to help Muslims, Hubayshi said, he regrets he did not do more.

"My dream was that I would fight when there was fighting, and teach children when there was peace," he said. "I'm sorry we left Afghanistan with so much war and death. I wish we had built hospitals or schools."


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