Hey Taliban, bragging you got one over on Obama is just really lame. None of us are surprised. Sadly enough, Obama is not surprised either.
The Taliban says the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders in 2014 was a major “achievement” in its war against the West and its allies. The claim was made in a lengthy video released on the Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad, earlier this month.
Footage from the exchange is shown early on in the production. The scenes include Bergdahl as he is about to be transferred to American forces and the five Taliban leaders being warmly greeted after their arrival in Qatar. Screen shots can be seen below.
As The Long War Journal has reported, all five of the Taliban commanders exchanged for Bergdahl had ties to al Qaeda prior to their detention in Cuba. [See LWJ report, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for top 5 Taliban commanders at Gitmo.]
Norullah Noori and Mohammad Fazl were both senior Taliban military commanders in Afghanistan. Khairullah Khairkhwa was the governor of the Herat province and one of Mullah Omar’s trusted lieutenants. Abdul Haq Wasiq was a senior Taliban intelligence official. And Mohammad Nabi Omari was allegedly part of a joint Taliban and al Qaeda cell that targeted US and Coalition forces. Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), which oversees the detention facility, deemed all five jihadists to be “high” risks to the US, its interests and allies.
Bergdahl was initially taken into custody by Taliban fighters after he wandered off an American outpost in the Paktika province in June 2009. He was then held for years by the Haqqani Network, which is part of the Taliban coalition and closely allied with al Qaeda. Siraj Haqqani, who leads the network, is one of the Taliban’s top two deputies and has also worked with senior al Qaeda leaders. Siraj has even held a seat on al Qaeda’s elite shura (advisory) council. More