From a 2012 report by Thomas Joscelyn:
During a hearing on Thursday, Democratic senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, publicly doubted the Obama administration’s decision to consider transferring five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo to Qatar.
“Like a number of other members of the committee, I’ve expressed some real concern about the reports that the administration is considering transferring some Taliban detainees from Guantanamo to Qatar,” Levin said. “I’ve expressed this both publicly and to the administration—privately.”
Levin explained that “such transfers would be premature and should only be considered after the Taliban has engaged in positive discussions on reconciliation,” which they have yet to do.
Yeah, don’t expect these animals to be reconciling anything, other than seeking revenge against Americans.
Intelligence officials have deemed all five to be “high” risks to the U.S. and its allies. During questioning, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that their “high” risk status has not changed.
A major goal of the peace talks, as expressed by the Obama administration officials, is to have the Taliban reject al Qaeda and its terrorism. Senior Taliban officials have shown no sign that they are willing to foreswear al Qaeda, however.
So what’s changed since 2012? Nothing, and don’t expect much from the Qataris, according to Joscelyn today:
In earlier statements, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry similarly thanked Qatar for its assistance. “For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier’s return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Amir of Qatar,” Obama said in his statement. “The Amir’s personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries.”
Kerry echoed this sentiment. “I extend my personal gratitude to the Government of Qatar – and especially to the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – who played such an instrumental role in returning Sergeant Bergdahl home,” Kerry said in his statement on the exchange for Bergdahl. “We work every day with Qatar on a range of critical foreign policy priorities. This effort – one that was personally so close to our hearts here – exemplifies how vital our partnership with Qatar is and will remain.”
President Obama and Secretary Kerry whitewashed Qatar’s troubling record in their statements. The Obama administration itself has documented, repeatedly, the permissive environment the Taliban and like-minded extremists enjoy in Qatar when fundraising for their jihad.
In 2012, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was so concerned with Qatar’s lax attitude towards the jihadists that he fought against the transfer of the Taliban Five. According to the Wall Street Journal, Panetta and other Defense Department officials were concerned because Qatar had “balked at U.S. demands that it take steps to ensure the detainees can’t leave the country after they are handed over.”
We wouldn’t be surprised if they’re back in action after a brief respite in Qatar:
“Very, very likely” that Taliban Five will be fighting again in Afghanistan/ Pakistan in a year – Michael Leiter, ex-head of NCTC w/ @joenbc
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) June 2, 2014
We can already envision the spin from Team Obama. It’ll go something like this:
— Michael Tomasky (@mtomasky) June 2, 2014