WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military has put a close associate of Osama bin Laden in prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said Friday.
Muhammed Rahim, an Afghan and high-level member of al Qaeda, was delivered to the U.S. military after being held by the CIA for an undisclosed amount of time, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Rahim prepared Tora Bora as a hiding place for bin Laden and helped plan the exit strategy for al Qaeda fighters and bin Laden in 2001 as the U.S. military closed in, Whitman said.
According to a statement from the CIA, obtained by CNN, Rahim is a "tough and seasoned jihadist," with combat experience dating back to the 1980s.
He was detained by the CIA in the summer of 2007 after, according to media reports, being captured in Lahore, Pakistan, by the Pakistanis. U.S. officials would not confirm those reports.
The CIA statement says Rahim is best known as a personal facilitator and translator for bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. He speaks numerous languages and knew the Afghan-Pakistan border region very well. As a courier he had high-level contacts.
He allegedly sought chemicals for an attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan and tried to recruit people with access to U.S. bases there, according to the CIA statement.
Rahim joins 15 other high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were also once held by the CIA, including alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Pentagon officials said about 280 detainees are now at Guantanamo.
The last previous high-value detainee transferred to U.S. military custody was Abd al Hadi al Iraqi in April 2007. He is considered one of al Qaeda's most senior and experienced operatives, according to U.S. officials. E-mail to a friend