The Bergdahl deal continues to get panned by Afghan officials. Per the New York Times today:
The officials said the Afghan government would have gladly agreed to keep the five men in Kabul, where they would have stayed in guesthouses run by the National Directorate of Security, ensuring that they were both protected and kept from returning to the insurgency. The officials cited cases of former Taliban leaders who live in Kabul under similar arrangements. Their expenses are paid for by Afghanistan’s National Security Council, which gets funds from the C.I.A.
“We would have used them to try to lever another approach to peace,” the former official said. “Could you imagine what it would have done to Taliban morale to see the five come to Kabul and have to live under the Afghan government?”
Instead, the Taliban have five of their leaders back, the United States is bringing its soldier home, and the Afghan government is still grasping for ways to open peace talks with the Taliban, who have shown little interest in talking about a broader resolution to the war.
This, of course, sends a demoralizing message:
“What does this say to every Afghan that has spent their entire adult lives fighting violent extremism?” said the former official, who is pro-American. “What does this say to all the Afghans that have already died or that will die next year?
“We find Obama’s language about ‘this is how wars end’ extremely insensitive,” the former official continued. “It ends for Americans. But it’s not ending for Afghans. Their intellectual dishonesty here is astounding,” he said. “If all you want to do is leave, then just say it. We all know it.”