By Jack Davis September 8, 2021 at 9:42am
A 2014 prisoner swap engineered by then-President Barack Obama has paid stunning dividends for the Taliban now that four of the five terrorists exchanged for former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will occupy top jobs in the new government of Afghanistan.
The Afghan television network TOLOnews said Khairullah Khairkhwa, Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Fazl, all of whom were freed from Guantanamo Bay in 2014, will help run the country, according to Fox News.
Bergdahl was later court-martialed for deserting his unit.
Four Taliban members swapped for Bowe Bergdahl now in Afghan government https://t.co/zfETS1fAaG pic.twitter.com/RY70sya2YZ
— New York Post (@nypost) September 8, 2021
Republican Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, who served in Afghanistan as a Green Beret, said the appointments should add to every American’s disgust with what the Biden administration has allowed to take place in Afghanistan.
“I have déjà vu knowing it’s the same national security team in place now that then ‘exchanged’ such high-value terrorists for traitor Bowe Bergdahl,” Waltz told the Daily Mail.
“I personally led searches for Bergdahl and soldiers in other units lost their lives in search of him,” he said.
Was Obama’s 2014 prisoner exchange a mistake?
“Seeing these former Guantanamo prisoners now in charge of a terrorist state that will once again threaten the homeland is a slap in the face to every veteran, gold star family, and victims of 9/11,” the congressman said.
“Despite this, the Biden Administration has still yet to learn appeasement has serious national security consequences and we are more unsafe now as a result of this disastrous withdrawal,” Waltz said.
President Barack Obama’s decision to swap five Taliban members for Bowe Bergdahl was a “disastrous” decision – as four of the five now hold senior positions in the new Afghan government, says the Institute of Public Affairs’ Gideon Rozner.https://t.co/BximkcTtcV
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 8, 2021
Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal, said the installation of four terrorists as leading members of a new government should dispel any illusions of a kinder, gentler Taliban.
“Now that the Taliban announced its government and it is clear the prevailing ‘wisdom’ that it would be inclusive is dead, when will other canards, like it is ‘pragmatic,’ ‘can’t govern,’ ‘wants legitimacy and will moderate’ or ‘it isn’t in its interests to work with Al Qaeda’ die?” he asked on Twitter.
“When will Washington and the press stop listening to and repeating the arguments of the failed analysts and architects of failure, with their canned, wrong-headed, politically expedient talking points?”
When will Washington and the press stop listening to and repeating the arguments of the failed analysts and architects of failure, with their canned, wrong-headed, politically expedient talking points?
I can dream…
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) September 7, 2021
As noted by Fox News, Wasiq was the Taliban’s intelligence director at the time of the 9/11 attacks and had ties to al-Qaida.
Fazl’s record was highlighted by Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“U.S. officials found that Fazl worked with senior al Qaeda personnel, including Abdel Hadi al Iraqi, one of Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenants,” Joscelyn tweeted. “Al Iraqi is still held at Guantanamo.”
5. Mohammad Fazl was a deputy defense minister for the Taliban in 2001. And so he is once again. U.S. officials found that Fazl worked with senior al Qaeda personnel, including Abdel Hadi al Iraqi, one of Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenants. Al Iraqi is still held at Guantanamo.
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) September 7, 2021
In 2011, a Washington, D.C., judge said Khairkhwa “has repeatedly admitted that after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he served as a member of a Taliban envoy that met clandestinely with senior Iranian officials to discuss Iran’s offer to provide the Taliban with weapons and other military support in anticipation of imminent hostilities with US coalition forces,” according to Fox News.
Haqqani comes into office after having a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.
A State Department statement said it is studying the appointments.
“We have seen the announcement and are assessing it,” a spokesman said, according to Fox News. “We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women. We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals.”