The Associated Press reported that five Afghan Taliban members, released by former President Barack Obama in exchange for the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, have rejoined with Taliban members in Qatar.
Released in 2014 there were many who criticized the move as dangerous. Given the Taliban members had been linked to American and Afghan deaths.
“Taliban are bringing back their old generation, which means the Taliban have not changed their thinking or their leadership,” Haroun Mir, an Afghan political analyst, said to the AP.
Mohammed Fazl, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Mullah Norullah Nori, and Mohammad Nabi were released from Guantanamo Bay into Qatari custody under security restrictions and a one-year travel ban in 2014 as the price of the release of Bergdahl, who was captured in 2009.
A spokesman for the Taliban declared that the five had joined the Taliban political office in Qatar, and that they would be part of peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
“These people are respected among all the Taliban,” said Hakim Mujahed, a member of the Afghan peace council.
Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who was head of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of the prisoner exchange, said in 2014 “I have little confidence in the security assurances regarding the movement and activities of the now-released Taliban leaders, and I have even less confidence in this administration’s willingness to ensure they are enforced.”
“I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come,” Rogers said.