As more details unfold regarding the Bowe Bergdahl case, one must look at how the Obama adminstration defended its actions. By denying that they did not negotiate with terrorists, the Obama adminstration directly told the world that America now acknowledges the Taliban as a government and not a terrorist organization. In fact, the negotiations themselves were first initiated in January 2013 in Washington under a Joint Statement on Peace and Reconciliation.
The Joint Statement came at the invitation from President Obama to President Karzai and his delegation during the January 2013 talks:
Through the High Peace Council, the Afghan Government will intensify its efforts to promote the peace process.The Leaders said that they would “support an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and the authorized representatives of the Taliban“. In this context, the Leaders called on the “armed opposition to join a political process, including by taking those steps necessary to open a Taliban office”. They urged the Government of Qatar to facilitate this effort.
Furthermore, a prisoner exchange was the reason given as to why a Taliban bureau would be established in Qatar.
“One of the primary gripes of the Taliban negotiators has been that the US has failed to take practical steps to release its members from Guantanamo Bay.
Last year, a potential prisoner exchange was discussed, in which five Afghan prisoners would be sent to Qatar in exchange for a US solider held captive in Afghanistan. According to media reports, the Taliban favored the idea, but the US had not agreed to it yet.
At the time, a Taliban official said that the Qatari government would take measures to ensure these Taliban figures will not use Qatar soil to organize and conduct attacks against anyone”.
And then came the “prisoner swap” on May 31st in which DOHA states that “Other Taliban members have already been living in Qatar for years”. Last summer, the group actually opened a political office in Dafna, which was to help negotiations between the Taliban and the US.
In sum, what this truly means is that the Obama adminstration negotiated directly with terrorists (the Taliban), under the false notion that the Taliban were willing to act politically by using Qatar as an intermediary.
What factually happened rests solely on the shoulders of this administrations as they had pushed for the opening of a Taliban office in 2013 so that the “prisoner swap” could commence.
The President is directly responsible for the fact that the five high-ranking Taliban officials released came not from Qatar’s “willingness” to secure the conditions outlined in the deal, but from the Taliban themselves.