Tags: US | Taliban | Qatar

US Intel Officials Fear Freed Taliban Could 'Magically' Disappear

Image: US Intel Officials Fear Freed Taliban Could 'Magically' Disappear

By    |   Friday, 06 Jun 2014 10:40 AM

Some U.S. intelligence officials privately fear that the top Taliban terrorists President Obama freed in exchange for a U.S. soldier could “magically” disappear from the Gulf emirate of Qatar, where they are supposed to be confined for a year, The Daily Beast reported Thursday.

Obama and his national security team this week defended the deal to recover Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in Afghanistan and expressed confidence in Qatar’s promise to keep watch over the jihadists.

But speaking privately, many U.S. military and intelligence officials believe Qatar’s record of turning a blind eye to terrorist-related activity within its borders raises doubts about its reliability.

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here

The five Taliban freed from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are permitted to move freely within Qatar, and a senior Gulf official emphasized that they can go back to Afghanistan after their year in Qatar.

“We know that many wealthy individuals in Qatar are raising money for jihadists in Syria every day,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told reporter Eli Lake. “We also know that we have sent detainees to them before, and their security services have magically lost track of them.”

As part of the Bergdahl deal, Qatar is to monitor the five jihadists  – considered to have been among "the worst of the worst" detainees at Guantanamo – in a “loose” form of house arrest for a year. After that time, they will be free to leave Qatar.

Intelligence officials said the deal would allow the U.S. government to keep track of the five terrorists, but the exact terms of that surveillance would have to be approved by the tiny emirate’s intelligence and security agency.

Another reason for concern is Qatar’s reputation as a place where terrorist organizations are able to raise funds.  Last year the Treasury Department placed sanctions on Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, a history professor and activist in Qatar, for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for al-Qaida affiliates in Iraq, Somalia and Yemen.

David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence,  said in March that Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has “for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability.” Hamas is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups, and it openly calls for the destruction of Israel.

According to the State Department’s latest report on counterterrorism, “Qatari-based terrorist fundraisers, whether acting as individuals or as representatives of other groups, were a significant terrorist financing risk and may have supported terrorist groups in countries such as Syria.”

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here


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Some U.S. intelligence officials privately fear that the top Taliban terrorists President Obama freed in exchange for a U.S. soldier could “magically” disappear from the Gulf emirate of Qatar, where they are supposed to be confined for a year.
US, Taliban, Qatar
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2014-40-06
Friday, 06 Jun 2014 10:40 AM
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