Tags: War on Terrorism | Royce | Taliban | Gitmo | war

Rep. Ed Royce: Keep Gitmo Open Until War With Taliban Ends

By    |   Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 05:20 PM

The Guantanamo Bay prison should remain open until the struggle with the Taliban is over, Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Saturday.

"I would suggest that with both the Pakistani government at war with the Taliban and with the Taliban at war with us and with the Afghan government, we should not be releasing their senior leadership," the California Republican told CNN's Poppy Harlow Saturday afternoon.

Royce said it is known that 30 percent of those released from Guantanamo have ended up back on the battlefield, where their targets are Americans.

"This is a case where the Defense Department is pushing back ... saying, no, this is very risky, but the White House wants to close Guantanamo Bay," Royce said, referring to statements made by outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the White House pressured him to quicken the pace at which prisoners were being released.

He rejected the idea that the prison escalates hostilities toward Americans.

"I heard the president say that," said Royce. "I do not believe that's the reason they wage terror against us, the fact we hold them in captivity. I believe they wage a terror war against us because they want to create and want people only to believe their way, the jihadist ideology, and that's why they kill minorities and target the West."

Further, Royce said it was a bad idea to release five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and that other options should have been considered.

"In a case like this where the Taliban is still waging war, I think you have to continue to hold them," he said. "Think for a minute about who we released here. This is the defense minister, these were the individuals that were responsible for the single worst atrocity against civilians in Afghanistan, 5,000 minorities slaughtered, women raped, sold into slavery."

Releasing such men into custody in Qatar, where they will remain under observation for just a year, "risks the fact that after that year is over, most, I believe, will return to the battlefield and will continue to target Americans."

And the five released had close ties with al Qaida, putting Americans at high risk, said Royce.

"My argument is against releasing those who are high risk, because they are not only the most likely to come back into the fight, but they are the most capable once they are back into battle to be able to inflict major damage on U.S. forces or on our allies," said Royce.

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The Guantanamo Bay prison should remain open until the struggle with the Taliban is over, Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Saturday. I would suggest that with both the Pakistani government at war with the Taliban and with the Taliban...
Royce, Taliban, Gitmo, war
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2015-20-31
Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 05:20 PM
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