Over the weekend, the Obama Administration freed five extremely dangerous Taliban commanders it had been holding at Club Gitmo in exchange for captured U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
While it's good that Bergdahl is headed home, the price was fairly high.All five of the Taliban commanders were labeled 'high risk' by the Pentagon.
Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa was interior minister during the Taliban's rule and Taliban governor of Herat province. He was directly linked to both Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's now-deceased head in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, as well as being described as one of the "major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan"
Mullah Mohammad Fazl was a major military commander for the Taliban back when they were fighting the U.S. backed Northern Alliance, and was the military 'chief of staff' for the Taliban regime. He was also charged by the UN with the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shiites under Taliban rule And was also linked to several Islamist groups, including al Qaeda. Our military considered Fazl to have what's described as 'high intelligence value'.
Mullah Norullah Noori was another Taliban governor, likewise considered to have high intelligence value.
Abdul Haq Wasiq was the second in command of the Taliban's intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. There's some evidence that Wasiq also shared intel with al Qaeda and other Islamist groups, which is fairly likely considering that al-Qaeda was headquartered in Afghanistan then.
Mohammad Nabi Omari was a Taliban official in Khost province who has been linked with al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups.He was also the Taliban's chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan.
There's no question that we will see these men in action against us again.And there will likely be other consequences.
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.
They're certainly correct about that.
There's also the little matter of the Obama Administration once again breaking the law, which requires that the Secretary of Defense notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason for the transfer and to provide assurances that the prisoners released are not going to return to terrorist activities against the United States. At this point, the majority of them have, and these five certainly will.
The Obama Administration is claiming they acted quickly to save Bergdahl's life and there simply was no time to notify Congress. I'd like accept that there was some kind of sudden urgency, but the fact he had already been in captivity for almost five years makes that unlikely...and so does the Obama Administration's constant activity to close down Club Gitmo by any means necessary and dump the 'guests' wherever possible. After all it certainly wouldn't be the first time the Regime has lied to Congress!
Bergdahl's case was always a fairly strange one anyway. Apparently he went AWOL, left his post (his story about 'lagging behind on patrol' is a pretty obvious fabrication) and was captured without either weapons or body armor:
The actual story might be hinted by the report of him walking off the base with some Afghans.No telling who they were, but if this is true they were likely interpreters or base workers who spoke some English, and they may have promised Bergdahl something - sex or drugs or both seem to be the most likely lures.
If he went with them willingly, they were people he knew and trusted. They likely sold him to the Taliban en route or more likely, after they had given him what they promised him and he was relaxing - which could also account for the Taliban account of him being intoxicated when they got their hands on him.
At any rate, the deal is done and so is the damage, and Bergdahl is headed back home.