Most of 5 freed Taliban prisoners have less than hard-core pasts

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
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So. Md.
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More information that shows how too many people have jumped to conclusions in relation to this incident and don't really know what they're talking about.

Khairkhwa, who was arrested by Pakistani forces in 2002 and transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was among the five Taliban detainees released by the Obama administration last week in exchange for captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Obama critics have said the swap could endanger American lives, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) calling the five Taliban members "the hardest and toughest of all."
A closer look at the former prisoners, however, indicates that not all were hard-core militants. Three held political positions in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and were considered relative moderates. A fourth was a mid-level police official, experts say.

The fifth, however, has a darker past. Mohammed Fazl was chief of staff of the Taliban army and is accused of commanding forces that massacred hundreds of civilians in the final years of Taliban rule before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. He was arrested in November 2001 after surrendering to U.S.-allied warlords in northern Afghanistan.

"Fazl is the only one of the five to face accusations of explicit war crimes and they are, indeed, extremely serious," Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a Kabul-based research group, wrote in a commentary published Wednesday.

The backgrounds of the prisoners, who are confined to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar for one year under the terms of the exchange, indicate that they would have little utility on the battlefield after more than a decade in prison. They range in age from 43 to 47. In their absences, the Taliban movement they served has evolved into a complex and extremely violent insurgency that routinely kills civilians and has been decimated — although far from defeated — by years of U.S. counter-terrorism operations.
Most of 5 freed Taliban prisoners have less than hard-core pasts*-*Los Angeles Times



 
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