How many will go back to fighting the jihad? From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
PUL-I-CHARKI, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Hundreds of Pakistanis who fought alongside the Taliban against U.S-led forces after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were released from an Afghan jail Sunday after nearly three years as prisoners of war.
The 368 prisoners, the last of more than 2,500 Pakistanis captured during the overthrow of the Taliban, were being driven by bus 155 miles to the Pakistani town of Peshawar for screening by Pakistani authorities.
“We are glad that their ordeal is finally over,” said Pakistani embassy third secretary Zafar Ali Khan. “We have been trying to get access to them for a long time. We believe there has been no need to have kept them for so long in Afghan jails.”
The prisoners, ranging in age from 22 to 60, were captured as the Taliban disintegrated in the face of the U.S.-led invasion that drove the Islamic fundamentalists from power in November 2001.
Many had been drawn to Afghanistan from madrassahs, or religious schools, in Pakistan, attracted by the puritanical brand of Islam that the Taliban espoused.
“The mullahs in my area said that as Muslims we should go to Afghanistan to fight a jihad,” 22-year-old Amir Khan, from Peshawar, told Reuters.
“I can not deny this was my intention. I arrived in Afghanistan in October. I spent three days in Kabul and then went to Mazar-i-Sharif. I was captured the day after I arrived there.”
Like many of his comrades, Khan said he had received no military training and insisted he was a religious student who had been “misled” by the mullahs.
“They sold us,” he said. “We learned later that for every 10 mujahideen (holy warriors) that they sent, they would receive 5,000 rupees ($100).”