Is President Obama sleeping well on his Hawaiian holiday? I can think of many families of American soldiers who might not be enjoying the same bliss right now. That’s because 2014 opens with alarming news that the Afghan government will free an estimated 650 prisoners from a Bagram detention facility — including scores involved in deadly attacks on our men and women in uniform.
The White House handed over control of the jihadi-clogged prison to the Afghan government last spring. Some 3,000 notorious Taliban and al Qaeda killers call the jail home. Surprise, surprise: After the Obama administration supposedly secured “private assurances” that no dangerous criminal operatives would be released, U.S. officials are now balking that the agreement has been broken. Everyone, put on your shocked faces.
An anonymous U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal this week: “We are concerned that 88 people who have blood on their hands — Afghan and coalition blood — would be turned loose, but more important, that an agreement that we have with the Afghan government is being violated.” The New York Times reports that Muslim terrorists who trained teen suicide bombers and planted IEDs at schools are among the lucky thugs slated for release. “These are guys that are tied directly to killing and trying to kill our forces and Afghan forces,” an American military official told the New York Times. “This is an issue of deep concern. It is serious.” Cue the “UNDERSTATEMENT” klieg lights.
Members of Afghanistan’s own parliament are decrying the lax review process and dangerous unilateral decisions of a “Bagram Inmates’ Assessment Committee” established by presidential decree. Afghan senator Dawood Hasas told the Afghanistan Times: “Among the released prisoners from Bagram jail, many were murder convicts, and release of notorious prisoners would not be in the national interests.”
Who knows how many others will be freed to kill American soldiers again? President Hamid Karzai is busy pandering to Taliban forces in advance of the country’s spring election season. He is also stalling approval of a bilateral security deal with the U.S. and U.K. It’s a recipe for bloody recidivism. The new batch of freed jihadists will join a burgeoning population of other freed Taliban commanders who promptly returned to the battlefield. Last fall, Karzai freed senior Taliban leader Maulawi Ghulam Mohammad — who now commands some 400 insurgents and immediately launched several deadly attacks on security forces’ check-posts in the Badghis province.
Mohammad joins Mullah Zakir, the Taliban’s top “surge commander,” who was released from Gitmo to Afghanistan custody and let loose by the Afghanistan government in 2007. He’s back at work, killing in the name of Allah without skipping a beat. Former Gitmo detainee Abu Sufian bin Qumu, also released in 2007, has been named a possible lead plotter in the Benghazi attack. Karzai’s jail-emptying scheme comes as the Obama administration continues to widen the Gitmo revolving door for even more potential recidivists-to-be. In December alone, the White House returned Guantanamo detainees to Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, and dispatched three Uighur detainees to Slovakia.
Question: Are the Taliban leaders detained and arrested last fall in connection with the deadly 9/14/12 attack on our Marines at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan on Karzai’s release list? Don’t forget that the infiltration of 15 jihadists disguised in U.S. combat fatigues took place three days after the 9/11 attack on our Benghazi consulate.
Refresher: The Camp Bastion attack came exactly six months after a failed suicide bombing that targeted then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The meticulously coordinated siege resulted in the deaths of Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, along with the most devastating loss of U.S. airpower since Vietnam. British commanders knew the airfield was insecure before 9/14/12. Leaders on both sides of the pond failed to coordinate their defenses. Three months before the raid, the Pentagon acknowledged, military officials had been warned of “uncontrolled access” that left “personnel and equipment exposed.”
The families of the fallen continue to fight for accountability on both sides of the pond, and to push for both the U.S. and U.K. to take meaningful remediation steps to secure coalition bases. It’s safe to say that “Freeing imprisoned Taliban and al Qaeda jihadists who targeted and killed American troops” wasn’t on any military family’s New Year’s wish list.
As for the commander-in-chief? It’s back to the golf course. Fore!
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010).