User Login    
 + Register
News : Debate Stirs Over US-Taliban Captive Swap
Posted by Randy on 2014/6/2 4:14:27 (438 reads) News by the same author

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can expect a buoyant homecoming after five years in Taliban hands, but those in the government who worked for his release face mounting questions over the prisoner swap that won his freedom.
Click to see original Image in a new window

Even in the first hours of Bergdahl's handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate in Washington over whether the exchange will heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees — several senior Taliban figures among them — would find their way back to the fight.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Bergdahl's health and safety appeared in jeopardy, prompting rapid action to secure his release. "Had we waited and lost him," said national security adviser Susan Rice, "I don't think anybody would have forgiven the United States government."

Republicans said the deal could set a troubling precedent — one called it "shocking." Arizona Sen. John McCain said of the five Guantanamo detainees, "These are the hardest of the hard core."

Tireless campaigners for their son's freedom, Bob and Jani Bergdahl thanked all who were behind the effort to retrieve him. "You were not left behind," Bob Bergdahl told reporters, as if speaking to his son. "We are so proud of the way this was carried out." He spoke in Boise, Idaho, wearing a long bushy beard he'd grown to honor his son, as residents in the sergeant's hometown of Hailey prepared for a homecoming celebration.

The five detainees left Guantanamo aboard a U.S. military aircraft flying to Qatar, which served as go-between in the negotiations. They are to be banned from leaving Qatar for at least a year. Among the five: a Taliban deputy intelligence minister, a former Taliban interior minister with ties to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and a figure linked by human rights monitors to mass killings of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.

Bergdahl, 28, was being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Officials did not offer details about Bergdahl's health to support their contention that his release had to be arranged without delay. Rice on one hand said he had lost considerable weight and faced an "acute" situation. Yet she said he appeared to be "in good physical condition" and "is said to be walking."

Questions persisted, too, about the circumstances of Bergdahl's 2009 capture. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on earlier reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit, disillusioned with the war. Such matters "will be dealt with later," Hagel said.

Hagel, visiting troops in Afghanistan, was met with silence when he told a group of them in a Bagram Air Field hangar: "This is a happy day. We got one of our own back." It was unclear whether the absence of cheers and applause came from a reluctance to display emotion in front of the Pentagon chief or from any doubts among the troops about Bergdahl.

In weighing the swap, U.S. officials decided that it could help the effort to reach reconciliation with the Taliban, which the U.S. sees as key to more security in Afghanistan. But they acknowledged the risk that the deal would embolden insurgents.

Republicans pressed that point. "Have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?" asked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. "What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?"

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said, "I'm going to celebrate him coming home," but added that the release of "five mid- to high-level Taliban is shocking to me, especially without coming to Congress."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article

Other articles
2015/11/27 6:40:00 - Minnesota Hunter Bags Unicorn Buck
2015/11/27 4:20:00 - Homeless Man Beaten Outside Gas Station In April Dies
2015/11/27 4:15:06 - What Happened When I Took My Spoiled Kid To A Homeless Shelter
2015/11/27 4:03:23 - Dentists Recount Strangest Things Found In Patients' Mouths
2015/11/27 4:00:00 - Planned Parenthood Considering All Legal Options To Continue Abortions At Columbia Clinic
2015/11/27 3:53:22 - November Firearms Deer Season Ends With Harvest Of 189,938
2015/11/25 14:20:00 - Police Seek Help Finding Grain Valley Fugitive
2015/11/25 12:30:05 - 11 Earthquakes Strike SE Missouri Overnight
2015/11/25 12:00:00 - Trenton Woman, Rescued In Monday Fire, Passes Away In Hospital
2015/11/25 11:14:43 - Mizzou Women Beat SIUE 75-46, Move to 5-0
2015/11/25 10:57:47 - Northwestern Holds Off Missouri 67-62 In CBE Classic
2015/11/25 10:50:00 - Lady Bulldogs Ride Richman's 22 Points To First Win Of Season
2015/11/25 10:36:32 - Gilman City Girls Open With Road Win Against Osborn
2015/11/25 10:26:54 - Chillicothe Routs Penney In Girls Season Opener
2015/11/25 10:20:00 - Princeton Splits Season Openers At North Harrison
2015/11/25 9:30:00 - Trenton Goes Overtime In Season-Opening Win Over East Buchanan
2015/11/25 8:56:26 - Mizzou Facing Image Crisis After Racial Issues, Upheaval
2015/11/25 8:26:05 - Two Charged With Murder After Man Found Dead Near Branson
2015/11/25 7:35:35 - North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees Meeting Report
2015/11/25 6:38:42 - Cameron Regional Medical Center Announces Awards Scholarships
2015/11/25 6:29:52 - 37th Annual Eagle Days at Squaw Creek Refuge To Be Held Dec. 5 & 6
2015/11/25 6:10:00 - Grundy County To Receive New Voting Equipment
2015/11/25 5:46:26 - Woman Identified In Monday Fire
2015/11/25 5:37:58 - Two Teens Injured, One Arrested In Accident Near Milan
2015/11/25 4:21:31 - Authorities Identify Victims, Alleged Shooter In Moberly Area Murder-Suicide
2015/11/25 4:18:02 - Grandfather Who Let 8-Year-Old Drive In Fatal Crash Had DUI, Drug History
2015/11/25 4:08:39 - A Rainy Thanksgiving And Potentially Slick Black Friday Morning For Missouri
2015/11/25 3:57:16 - Livingston County Sheriff Investigation Results In Conviction
2015/11/25 3:49:18 - I-29 Traffic Stop Nets 60 Pounds Of Marijuana
2015/11/24 15:28:17 - NCMC Men Fall To .500 With Hard Fought Road Loss

Bookmark this article at these sites


Listen to KTTN-FM