Opinion

John Kerry: Charge troops are in danger is 'baloney'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,CNN,John Kerry,Afghanistan,Terrorism,Candy Crowley,Taliban,Detainees,Bowe Bergdahl,Kevin Daley

Secretary of State John Kerry said charges that President Obama endangered American troops by releasing five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay are "baloney."

"Our combat role in Afghanistan is over" Kerry told host Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union" show Sunday. "We're going to have a few people in that kind of position on occasion. But I honestly, I just think that's baloney because, to whatever degree that might be true, they will wind up putting themselves at the mercy of those people who are very effective who are there, who will deal with those guys."

The Taliban commanders released in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khirullah Khairkhwa, and Mohammad Nabi Omari.

Fazl served as the Taliban's deputy defense minister and army chief of staff, and is wanted by the United Nations for his role in the mass killings of Afghanistan's Shi'ite population. Noori, a veteran warlord, had close ties to Osama bin Laden prior to his capture. Wasiq, an intelligence officer, was a high-level liaison between the Taliban and other radical Islamic groups during the Afghan insurgency. Khairkhwa, a known heroin trafficker, met with Iranian officials to plan attacks against coalition troops after the 2001 invasion. Omari was a major weapons smuggler who supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Haqqani network.

Defense Department documents classifies each detainee as both high-risk and high intelligence value.

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Kevin Daley

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner

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