Racing for the exits in Afghanistan, the White House is floating trial balloons about winning the good faith of the Taliban by releasing some of its most important figures now being held at Guantanamo, according to the editors at the WSJ:
Mohammad Fazl, around age 45, was the senior-most Taliban commander in northern Afghanistan and their deputy defense minister when captured in November 2001. He was at the Qala-i-Jangi fortress, outside the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, when hundreds of Taliban prisoners revolted against their captors in the Northern Alliance. CIA operative Johnny Michael Spann died in the melee, becoming the first American casualty of the Afghan war. A confidential annex of the Administration’s 2010 review suggests that Fazl may be responsible for Spann’s death.
According to his secret 2008 Gitmo file, which was published by WikiLeaks, Fazl also commanded foreign fighters in Afghanistan and “possessed vast power and financial resources.”
He was close to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. Before 9/11, Fazl commanded troops in central Afghanistan who massacred hundreds of Hazaras, a Shiite Muslim ethnic minority. His Gitmo file also says the Iranian government suspects him of “being connected” to the killing of its diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998.
There are four more just as worthy of release. If by release you mean, from the back end of a C-17, over the open ocean, sans parachute.
There is defeat, and there is disgrace. The president appears to be going for both.