Administration of the US President, Barack Hussein Obama II, has over the weekend accomplished a highly controversial deal with the people they used to call ‘terrorists’, by swapping five notorious Taliban chiefs with an American soldier.
* Sergeant Bergdahl went missing in Paktika province, near the Pakistani border, under strange circumstances
The 28-year-old Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured by al-Qaeda linked Taliban movement in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. After spending almost five years in captivity, the soldier was handed over to US forces in Afghanistan on May 30, 2014, Saturday, following the deal with Islamists.
* Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Snapshot from Taliban’s video in 2010.
The released sergeant, who was the only US soldier being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, is now undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at a US military hospital in Germany. Emir of Qatar was one of the mediators in the process of swap.
* The five detainees arrive in Qatar from Guantanamo Bay – the US detention facility in Cuba.
The parents of the liberated soldier, Jani and Bob Bergdahl, were full of emotions and nearly burst in tears while being received at the Rose Garder of the White House by President Obama himself.
* Bergdahl’s parents hardly find words to thank President Obama
US Defence Secretary (Minister of Defence) Chuck Hagel has welcomed the development. He emphasised that the soldier regained freedom not because of negotiations with terrorists, but because he was a prisoner of war and, according to the international law, it is normal for a country to get its prisoners back. He mentioned that no shots were fired, which proved the deal went smoothly.
However, one of the main stakeholders being in opposition to Obama’s administration, Senator John McCain, representing the Republicans, blasted the decision, said the detainees were some of the “highest high-risk people”, who would rejoin terrorists again in any case.
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, broke the silence on June 1, 2014, Sunday. In his rare address he tagged the swap deal as a “big victory”.
So who are the Islamist militants, who would spend one year on the territory of Qatar without an option of leaving (in accordance with the terms of this deal)?
1. Mohammad Fazl – former Taliban’s deputy defence minister during America’s intervention in Afganistan in 2001. Suspected of multiple war crimes, including acts of genocide at Shia Muslims communities.
2. Khirullah Khairkhwa – former Taliban’s interior minister, ex governor Afghanistan’s third largest city, Herat. Suspected of direct links with late global terrorist # 1 Osama Bin Laden.
3. Abdul Haq Wasiq – former Taliban’s deputy minister of intelligence. Used to be one of the leading negotiators between the Islamist groups, convinced them to form alliances against US, NATO troops and other allies.
4. Mullah Norullah Noori – ex Taliban military commander and a governor. Accused of being behind mass murders of Shia Muslims.
5. Mohammad Nabi Omari – former Taliban’s chief of security and a prominent leader. Suspected of masterminding multiple attacks against US, NATO troops and other allies.
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