Ex-Guantanamo detainees returning to insurgency
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A Taliban leader who was released last year as part of a prisoner swap is trying to re-establish contact with the rebels, multiple media reports said, resulting in an outrage from American lawmakers.
Five Taliban prisoners were freed from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. They were released to Qatar, which had said it would monitor the former detainees' activities. However, multiple media reports quoting anonymous sources said one of them had tried to contact the Taliban.
Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said they were taking all allegations of re-engagement very seriously. “There are different ways of considering re-engagement. It doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the battlefield,” he said.
The reports were received with outrage by Republican lawmakers. “This report is troubling, but wholly predictable,” remarked Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Royce said after the Obama administration released the five top Taliban leaders, they were assured the terrorists would be sidelined for at least a year. “This lousy deal seems to have fallen apart. Reportedly, at least one of them couldn’t wait even that long to start stirring up militant activity,” he said.
“The dangerous deal the White House cut has real consequences for the safety of Americans. Congress and the American people deserve a full explanation,” Royce alleged.
Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, alleged that said Obama’s determination to empty Guantanamo Bay continues to be a victory for terrorist groups.
“In his rush to release extremist detainees back onto the streets, the president has naively ignored his top intelligence officials who have pointed out that many of these hardened militants are returning to the fight,” he said alleging that these actions are putting American lives at risk.
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