While many in the media take aim at Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s circumstances that lead to his capture by the Taliban, a broader picture is emerging about America’s commitment to ending the U.S.’s longest war.
Watch Kimberly’s San Diego 6 News segment here
As pressure mounted, growing criticisms about the Obama administration’s handling of the “Taliban five” GITMO prisoner swap forced the President to respond to mishandling allegations at the G7 press conference in Belgium.
“I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that American people understand that this is somebody’s child.”
With the controversial prisoner swap fading from the headlines, Americans will have to wait and see what the true motives of the Taliban terrorist negotiations mean for U.S. security.
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Gitmo Prisoner Exchange Jeopardizes Syria and Throws a Shoe at Karzai
In a Rose Garden ceremony usually reserved for heads-of-state related affairs, President Obama announced the release of five of the most dangerous Taliban/al-Qaeda prisoners in Gitmo in exchange for an American soldier who deserted or defected to the enemy.
But maybe the Rose Garden WAS the proper setting as Mr. Bergdahl, father of the soldier, spoke in Pashto directly to the Afghans and his son's captors, with whom he has developed a relationship over the five years of captivity.
President Obama stated from the Rose Garden ceremony “I'm also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release. We've worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done (The Emir was present for Obama’s foreign policy speech to West Point graduates). As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security. I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.”
The significance of the event could have been lost in shock and awe at the President's audacity, but Secretary of State Kerry intimated that this deal would help the Afghan people forge a new relationship with the Taliban and assist Afghanistan with the “conversations between Afghans about how to end the bloodshed in their country through an Afghan-led reconciliation process. As we've said, we look forward to working with the next President of Afghanistan and to standing side-by-side with the Afghan Government and the Afghan people as they build a secure, stable, sovereign, and unified country.”
The statements from the President and Mr. Kerry resemble a December 2011 dialogue where the U.S. and Qatar sought to open a negotiation with the Taliban as a means of ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan without returning the country to a resumption of war between the Karzai government and the Taliban.
However, Karzai killed the deal and refused to meet with the Taliban. The fact that the Rose Garden setting was used as a means of communicating with the Taliban directly telegraphs to the Taliban that the U.S. is prepared to move forward with peace talks regardless of the position of Karzai or the incoming president of Afghanistan.
It’s a monumental step for the U.S. to undertake a unilateral position against Karzai, who has become increasingly belligerent towards the American government and President Obama (Last week the President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan where Karzai refused to meet him). As far as America’s role with Afghanistan, Secretary Kerry said he personally spoke with Afghan President Karzai to brief him on the release of the “Taliban five.” He told the out-going president that America has Qatar’s word they will not return to the battlefield and resume the battle against the West.
Conversely, testimonies given before Congress on February 16, 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the “Taliban five” were too dangerous to release or swap. Yet, President Obama would have American’s believe two years later, that the Emir of Qatar gave his personal assurances that the “Taliban five” would not pose a threat to America.
Clearly, that line of thinking doesn’t line up with the Taliban’s point of view. A few hours after the GITMO detainees were released, the leader of the Taliban, Mohammad Omar made a rare statement in Arabic and Pashto.
“With great happiness and joy we give glad tidings to all people, and especially the mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate, and the families of the five senior leaders of the Islamic Emirate, and those who love them and their families. The five ex-Guantanamo detainees were liberated as a result of non-straightforward negotiations between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and America with mediation from Qatar, and those people will reside in Qatar with their families.
It is worth mentioning that the Islamic Emirate, in exchange for the release of its five prominent people...released one America soldier that it had captured five years ago and handed him over to America," the Taliban says, according to SITE's translation.
The Taliban said a new “political office” was opened in Qatar in 2012. They went on to demand that the U.S. release all the Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Keep reading: GITMO Taliban prisoner swap
Read more of Kimberly Dvorak's investigative reporting in Benghazi intrigue- CIA arms trafficking - influence peddling or corruption: http://www.examiner.com/article/benghazi-intrigue-cia-arms-trafficking-influence-peddling-corruption?no_cache=1401820807
Obama’s regime change train stops in Ukraine: http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-s-regime-change-train-stops-ukraine
Email Kimberly at Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
© Kimberly Dvorak. All rights reserved. 2014.