Four members of the Taliban’s new government are alumni of Gitmo, released by President Barack Obama in 2014 in his drive to empty out the Guantanamo Bay detention center in hopes of closing it down.
Closing Gitmo became a goal for the left almost as soon as it opened. Obama failed to deliver, but President Joe Biden may yet succeed, if he can find some way to spring the few dozen hardened terrorists who remain and let them resume their warring on civilization.
As The Post’s Samuel Chamberlain reported last week, the five Taliban captives released in exchange for US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl were: Abdul Haq Wasiq, now the terror group’s acting director of intelligence; Norullah Noori, acting minister of borders and tribal affairs; Mohammad Fazl, deputy defense minister; Khairullah Khairkhah, acting minister of information and culture; and Mohammad Nabi Omari, now tapped as governor of Khost province.
Most were top Taliban before their capture: Wasiq was deputy intelligence chief; Fazl, army chief of staff; Khairkhah, interior minister; and Noori, governor of two northern provinces. Their grim work, according to US officials in 2008: Wasiq used his office to help al Qaeda; Fazl had “operational associations” with that group and other extremists; he and Noori are accused of ordering massacres; Khairkhah was known as a “major” drug lord.
Biden’s disastrous pullout led the way for their return to power. But it was Obama who freed them, end-running laws that require congressional approval by doing it as a prisoner exchange. The late Sen. John McCain warned then that these were “the hardest of the hard-core” and “the highest high-risk people.”
Yet at least Obama justified the move by saying America doesn’t “ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.” By contrast, Biden’s Afghan bugout left behind at least 100 US citizens, many more green-card holders and perhaps 100,000 US-allied Afghans — despite the president’s vow to “stay to get [all US citizens] out.”
The Biden administration in July already cleared several of the last 39 Gitmo detainees for release. Don’t be shocked if this president winds up trading some of the rest for the hostages he’s now given the Taliban.