Tags: Afghanistan | Al-Qaida | Bowe Bergdahl Freed | Emerging Threats | War on Terrorism | Rob Williams | Saxby Chambliss

Intel Experts: Released Taliban Prisoners Will Strike Again

By Joe Schaeffer   |   Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 10:30 PM

The Taliban prisoners the Obama administration exchanged for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be heard from again, a U.S. intelligence official, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and an al-Qaida expert all agree.

Rob Williams, U.S. national intelligence officer for South Asia, told a closed, classified Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday that four of the men are expected to resume their activities with the Taliban, Reuters reports, citing two senior congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The five exchanged prisoners include the former Taliban interior minister, who was described in a U.S. case file leaked by WikiLeaks as having had close ties to Osama bin Laden; the Taliban's former deputy chief of intelligence; and a former member of a joint Taliban-al-Qaida cell.

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss told Fox News's Megyn Kelly on Tuesday that the five "are more dangerous today than ever."

"The fact of the matter is that these are five of the most dangerous folks in the world. This is Mullah Omar's board of directors, it's his fab five team," the Georgia Republican said.

"It's individuals who have been involved in high-level positions in the Taliban, individuals who have been directly connected to Osama bin Laden from a financial standpoint as well as from an intelligence standpoint."

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Al-Qaida expert Thomas Joscelyn told Breitbart News that "all five were part of [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar's inner circle."

"[Released prisoner Abdul Haq] Wasiq was one of the top intelligence officials for Mullah Omar in the Taliban." Joscelyn told Breitbart. "In that role, Wasiq brought al-Qaida in to train the Taliban intelligence services. AQ showed them how to use intelligence, counterintelligence, and security strategies.

"The Taliban initially lacked that expertise, so Wasiq turned to senior al-Qaida operatives for that expertise. Wasiq is an example of how al-Qaida supported the Taliban and how the two organizations were basically overlapping prior to 9/11."

Joscelyn told Breitbart that the released Mohammad Fazl is "undoubtedly one of the most dangerous Taliban commanders on the planet. He's a guy who is known for being especially ruthless."

"The U.N. has wanted him for war crimes for years because he is suspected of taking part in the slaughter of thousands of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan prior to 9/11. He is also very operationally skilled. He's someone that is quite capable of commanding forces on the battlefield."

Joscelyn told Breitbart that exchanged prisoner Khairullah Khairkhwa, "both before and after 9/11, was instrumental in setting up meetings between the Iranian regime and the Taliban. During those meetings, the Iranians pledged to assist the Taliban in their war against the United States."

Joscelyn echoed intelligence officer Williams' Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, saying, "These are guys who will definitely rejoin their comrades . . . I don't think there's any doubt that they will resume their operational leadership roles."

Chambliss on Fox News decried what he termed a "bad deal" for America.

"It's totally irrational to me as to what the president could have been thinking when he made the decision to release these five individuals and albeit, you know, you're a parent, I'm a parent, I'm happy this young man [Bergdahl] is going to be reunited with his parents in Idaho, but this was a bad deal and it's a deal that, unfortunately, impacts the national security interests of every single American and it's truly a bad idea."

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