The Taliban says the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders in 2014 was a major “achievement” in its war against the West and its allies. The claim was made in a lengthy video released on the Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad, earlier this month.
Footage from the exchange is shown early on in the production. The scenes include Bergdahl as he is about to be transferred to American forces and the five Taliban leaders being warmly greeted after their arrival in Qatar. Screen shots can be seen below.
As The Long War Journal has reported, all five of the Taliban commanders exchanged for Bergdahl had ties to al Qaeda prior to their detention in Cuba. [See LWJ report, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for top 5 Taliban commanders at Gitmo.]
Norullah Noori and Mohammad Fazl were both senior Taliban military commanders in Afghanistan. Khairullah Khairkhwa was the governor of the Herat province and one of Mullah Omar’s trusted lieutenants. Abdul Haq Wasiq was a senior Taliban intelligence official. And Mohammad Nabi Omari was allegedly part of a joint Taliban and al Qaeda cell that targeted US and Coalition forces. Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), which oversees the detention facility, deemed all five jihadists to be “high” risks to the US, its interests and allies.
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Image courtesy of Screen shots from Taliban video via The Long Journal