The Obama administration is redefining the War on Terrorism as a war on Al-Qaeda, with Vice President Biden going so far as to say that the “Taliban, per se, is not our enemy.” In June, Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed that the U.S. was negotiating with the Taliban, and talks have reportedly gone on since at least November 2010. Now, President Obama is even thinking about releasing five high-level Taliban leaders to Qatar from Guantanamo Bay, despite their direct ties with Al-Qaeda and the military’s warnings that they are likely to rejoin the violent jihad.
Marc Thiessen reviewed the biographies of the five Taliban leaders that the U.S. may set free. Mullah Mohammed Fazl was the chief of staff of the Taliban army and worked with Osama Bin Laden’s 055 Brigade. Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Taliban’s deputy intelligence minister, built alliances with terrorist groups and arranged for Al-Qaeda to train Taliban fighters. The governor of Herat Province, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, was “directly associated” with Bin Laden, supervising an Al-Qaeda training camp and took part in Taliban dealings with Iran to jointly kill U.S. soldiers.
Mullah Norullah Noori, a former Taliban commander, was involved with senior members of Al-Qaeda and fought alongside the terrorist group. The Joint Task Force-Guantanamo describes him as a Taliban “hardliner.” Muhammad Nabi, a fundraiser for the Taliban, was part of an Al-Qaeda cell. The reason these five leaders are held is because the military believes they will go right back to what they were doing before their imprisonment. Yet, the Obama administration believes that releasing them will improve the chances that the negotiations with the Taliban will be successful.
There have been around six meetings between the U.S. and Taliban representatives in Germany and Doha, Qatar. Among those participating are Mullah Omar’s secretary and Ibrahim Haqqani, the brother of the leader of the Al-Qaeda-tied Haqqani Network. The U.S. was encouraged by the Taliban’s agreement to open up a political office in Qatar, where Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi is acting as a “mediator.” Qaradawi is a terrorism-supporting, anti-Semitic cleric and leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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