Mastermind Behind Taliban Takeover Was Part of ‘Gitmo 5’ Released by Obama in 2014


Remember the catchphrase “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”? If so, then you may also remember how former President Barack Obama threw conventional wisdom out the window to free five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. One of the “Gitmo Five” released by Obama reportedly led the charge in the takeover of Afghanistan this weekend. Khairullah Khairkhwa represented the Taliban in negotiations this year to discuss the American troop withdrawal, the New York Post reported. “I started jihad to remove foreign forces from my country and establish an Islamic government, and jihad will continue until we reach that goal through a political agreement,” Khairkhwa said at the time, according to The Post. The outlet went so far as to call him the “mastermind” behind the Taliban’s rise to power. Khairkhwa and the other freed terrorists got jobs at the Taliban’s office in Qatar in 2018, the Military Times reported. Khairkhwa’s release was highly controversial; the Pentagon considered him a significant risk. Foreign policy decisions almost always have unforeseen long-term consequences — but the dots in Afghanistan are disturbingly easy to connect.

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