5 Gitmo Detainees Swapped For Deserter Bowe Bergdahl Join Taliban's Office In Qatar
In May of 2014, then-President Barack Obama enthusiastically announced a highly controversial swap of five terrorists detained at a U.S. Military prison in Guantanamo Bay (AKA Gitmo) to the Taliban in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, an Army sergeant who was suspected of desertion at the time and would later plead guilty to the act.
The five terrorists freed by the Obama administration have since joined the Taliban's political office in Qatar, confirmed Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid to the Military Times on Tuesday.
The men will "be among Taliban representatives negotiating for peace in Afghanistan," reports the Military Times, "a sign some negotiators in Kabul say indicates the Taliban’s desire for a peace pact."
Alternatively, "Others fear the five, all of whom were close to the insurgent group's founder and hard-line leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, bring with them the same ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam that characterized the group's five-year rule that ended in 2001 with the U.S.-led invasion," says the report.
"The Taliban are bringing back their old generation, which means the Taliban have not changed their thinking or their leadership," said Haroun Mir, a political analyst based in the Afghan capital. "What we are more worried about is if tomorrow the Taliban say 'we are ready to negotiate,' who will represent Kabul? That is the big challenge because the government is so divided, not just ideologically but on ethnic lines."