Four out of five Guantanamo detainees whom former President Barack Obama released in exchange for former U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014 now hold senior positions in the interim government created by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
According to the Afghan television network TOLOnews, the Taliban-formed government gave leadership positions to Khairullah Khairkhwa, Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammad Fazl; all of whom were released in a 2014 deal between the Obama administration and the Taliban to free Bergdahl, whom the Taliban had held as a prisoner since 2009.
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced that Khairkhwa would serve as acting minister for information and culture, Noori would serve as acting minister of borders and tribal affairs, Wasiq would serve as acting director of intelligence, and Fazl would serve as deputy defense minister.
Wasiq will reprise his role as the Taliban’s intelligence director, previously serving in the role prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Wasiq had close tied to al Qaeda while he was serving in that position at the time.
Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), noted that Fazl will also return to his role as deputy defense minister. “U.S. officials found that Fazl worked with senior al Qaeda personnel, including Abdel Hadi al Iraqi, one of Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenants,” Joscelyn wrote in a tweet. “Al Iraqi is still held at Guantanamo.”
Late last month, following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban announced that Mohammad Nabi Omari, another former Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (GTMO) detainee with close ties to al Qaeda, would govern Khost Province.
Story continues at: Prisoner Exchange