The New York Times reported yesterday that the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban have mended their fences in order to join forces against the surge in American troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban may be in hide-and-seek mode against our military but they make themselves available to the Times. According to the report:
In interviews, several Taliban fighters based in the border region said preparations for the anticipated influx of American troops were already being made. A number of new, younger commanders have been preparing to step up a campaign of roadside bombings and suicide attacks to greet the Americans, the fighters said.
Ominous, but about what you’d figure in a war against a determined enemy. Here’s something you might not have figured on in wars prior to this one (italics mine):
The Taliban fighters said the Afghan Taliban delegation [to the fence-mending confab] was led by Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a commander from Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, whose real name is reported to be Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul.
A front-line commander during the Taliban government, Mullah Zakir was captured in 2001 in northern Afghanistan and was detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, until his release in 2007, Afghan Taliban members contacted by telephone said.
The Pakistani fighters described Mullah Zakir as an impressive speaker and a trainer, and one said he was particularly energetic in working to unite the different Taliban groups.
So we had in our custody a top commander of the Taliban, against which we have been at war for eight years and which, far from surrendering, has continued fighting and killing American troops throughout that time. But because Guantanamo Bay is purportedly a blight on our reputation in the international community (whatever that means), and because we have thus been under pressure from the Left to shut it down, we released the said top Taliban commander even as things were getting worse in Afghanistan. He, as anyone might have predicted, has gone straight back to the jihad. Now things have gotten so bad we’ve had to send more troops, and the guy we released is playing a key role fortifying enemy forces and helping them prepare roadside and suicide bombings against the increased forces we’re sending.
But not to worry. The administration is working hard to make arrangements to release most of the remaining 240+ detainees so the president can make good on his commitment to close Gitmo by the beginning of next year.