Mastermind Behind Taliban Takeover Was Part of 'Gitmo 5' Released by Obama in 2014


Remember the catchphrase “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”?

If so, then you may also remember how former President Barack Obama threw conventional wisdom out the window to free five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014.

One of the “Gitmo Five” released by Obama reportedly led the charge in the takeover of Afghanistan this weekend.

Khairullah Khairkhwa represented the Taliban in negotiations this year to discuss the American troop withdrawal, the New York Post reported.

“I started jihad to remove foreign forces from my country and establish an Islamic government, and jihad will continue until we reach that goal through a political agreement,” Khairkhwa said at the time, according to The Post.

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The outlet went so far as to call him the “mastermind” behind the Taliban’s rise to power.

Khairkhwa and the other freed terrorists got jobs at the Taliban’s office in Qatar in 2018, the Military Times reported.

Khairkhwa’s release was highly controversial; the Pentagon considered him a significant risk.

Foreign policy decisions almost always have unforeseen long-term consequences — but the dots in Afghanistan are disturbingly easy to connect.

The Obama administration was thinking short-term when it decided to exchange Khairkhwa for Bergdahl, and now Afghan civilians are going to suffer.

President Joe Biden is in bipartisan hot water for his horrendous execution of the troop withdrawal, which instantly left a power vacuum for the Taliban to fill.

The jury is still out on whether we should have left Afghanistan in the first place, but it is clear that the situation has been spiraling for years.

The U.S. now has to take a more active role in the nation than it did just a few months ago, conducting evacuations at the Kabul airport and possibly taking in thousands of refugees.

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In addition, there are thousands of Americans still trying to escape the country.

Obama and Biden are among the many leaders who contributed to the collapse of the Afghan government. But it’s Biden’s job now to step up and take responsibility.

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Cameron Arcand is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2017 as a school project, he founded, which has grown exponentially since its founding. He has interviewed several notable conservative figures, including Dave Rubin, Peggy Grande and Madison Cawthorn.

In September 2020, Cameron joined The Western Journal as a Commentary Writer, where he has written articles on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Recall Gavin Newsom" effort and the 2020 election aftermath. The "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News and Fox 5 DC. He has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
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