The Taliban are celebrating the release of the five leaders we held at Guantanamo in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. The released Taliban detainees have received a hero’s welcome in Qutar, where they can return to work while they prepare to rejoin the battle against our remaining forces in Afghanistan.
The Taliban clearly think they got the better of the United States in the exchange of the five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl. The New York Daily News reports that fugitive Taliban boss Mullah Omar declared “victory” on Sunday. “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Afghan Muslim nation, all the mujahedeen and to the families and relatives of the prisoners for this big victory,” Omar declared.
As we have found in other matters involving Obama administration foreign policy, our enemy frequently provides a more reliable guide to events than do Obama and the senior officers of his administration. The Daily News itself does not disagree with Omar’s assessment of the deal. On the editorial page, the Daily News editors declare that the deal represents “Surrender without honor.”
The Daily News renders this harsh judgment: “President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan.” The editors add: “In retrospect, [Obama's] Rose Garden announcement that he was bringing home an American POW appears to have been a cynical act of theater.” The Daily News editorial has more, all of it worth reading.
As part of the celebrations, the Taliban have just released the video below depicting Sergeant Bergdahl’s handover. In its report on the video, the Wall Street Journal refers to Bergdahl as a “prisoner of war.” I think “hostage” is more like it, but we still have a lot to learn about Bergdahl’s capture, Bergdahl’s confinement and the terms of Bergdahl’s release.
Video via New York Daily News.