The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Fumbling Away Captured Taliban?


So, if killing Osama bin Laden is a form of spiking the football, would these be fumbles?

The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.

But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.

There are no absolute guarantees, however, and officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again.

If they’re anything like the released Guantanamo Bay detainees

…The Pentagon said on Tuesday that 61 former detainees from its military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appear to have returned to terrorism since their release from custody.

I’m glad President Obama has proven much more ruthless than his 2008 campaign rhetoric suggested when it came to drone attacks. But in Afghanistan, the phrase “trust the Taliban” comes up disturbingly often in our policy…

Tags: Afghanistan , Taliban


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