By: Denise Simon
The dealing with Haqqani/Taliban goes back to 2009 and had underlying objectives such that many players worked the deal(s) extending sweet honey to Haqqani/Taliban masked in a trade for Bergdahl.
Bowe Bergdahl was a proven risk in Afghanistan going back as far as 2009, when more than once he left his post telling some in his unit he no longer believed in the American mission and wanted to do something else. A full (AR-15-6) investigation began then and remains classified. Bergdahl has a charge sheet and there is indisputable evidence that he willingly and with purpose left his base. It must be noted and remembered that at least 6 fellow soldiers died looking for Bergdahl and an unknown number to date were injured due to IED’s.
So, it is important to put some historical facts in this summary that may put some other perspective into the discussion.
Richard Holbrooke, a longtime diplomat, died in 2010. During his career, Holbrooke had many foreign policy roles and could have eventually been Secretary of State, given his work for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Prior to Holbrooke’s death, he was the special envoy to AFPAK (Afganistan/Pakistan), which was closely guarded and managed by the White House. Holbrooke was assigned negotiate with the Taliban and Haqqani but the White House devised the mission and (June 2011) announced the withdraw of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and this changed the trump cards Holbrooke had previously established. Negotiations were later turned over t0 Marc Grossman for his resumption of talks with the enemy. The best deals with the Taliban/Haqqani were when America and ISAF had the most forces in country.
In the quest for a deal with the Taliban, they were removed from the list and given amnesty for war crimes. It should be noted that in 2001 directly after the U.S. defeated in a matter of a few months, the Taliban tried to deal with the Bush Administration and was profoundly rejected.
Early in the Obama administration, the White House staff and the State Department under Hillary Clinton sought a pragmatic approach with enemies of America such that ‘isolating’ them was the sole objective, same as it is today with Putin, Bashir al Assad and ISIS in Iraq. Barack Obama’s team approached the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, collaborating on the concept of negotiating with the Taliban. Mechanisms for these talks and use of sanctions included such times as:
- Easing U.S., European and United Nations sanctions
- Removing the Taliban from any black listings
- Establishing a political mainstream headquarter location in Doha, Qatar
- Installing the Taliban into the power structure of the whole governmental process in Afghanistan
- To work with financial powerbrokers globally to establish an economic platform for the Taliban
- Continued and scheduled release of Taliban prisoners in worldwide locations beginning in Bagram and later Guantanamo. Specifically, the Taliban wanted Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a direct lieutenant of Mullah Omar. Baradar ran the Taliban operations and is/was the leader of the Quetta Shura based in Pakistan.
In several versions of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the United States and Afghanistan, text remained on negotiations and conditions for inclusion of the Taliban. As the BSA process continued to be delayed over many disagreements and secret machinations, the United States chose another course for Taliban talks and that included the use of Qatar. Particular sticking points of the Taliban were their demands of releasing of guerilla commanders, including 5 located in Guantanamo and Helman Abdul Bari, Nuruddin Turabi, Allah Daad Tabib, Duad Jan and Mir Ahmed Gul all from detention facilities held by the United States.
Marc Grossman has moved on from the assignment of AfPak and is now at The Cohen Group, a strategic foreign investment think tank with interesting connections to central Asia, south Asia that includes Afghanistan Pakistan, India, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. This is important and worth a mention for several reasons, most of which, nothing needs to impede private equity and investment when it comes to the region being a transit state for a pipeline connecting central Asia to south Asia which has the Asian Development Bank as the financial advisor. The pipeline includes all transit routes for oil, natural gas and power grids.
As the Brits and the United States took down the flag the last time today in Helmand Province of Camp Bastion and Camp Leatherneck, no future conflicts can be tolerated by al Qaeda and the Taliban. As the West leaves Afghanistan, so goes the money as well which will not only impact economics in Afghanistan but in Pakistan as well. There will be likely a rise in drug productions, kidnapping, transit taxes and ransoms on businesses. These are all factored into the negotiations with Haqqani, Taliban and global business interests.
So today, the Taliban 5 (having their passports terminated and provided provisional citizenship of Qatar) released from Guantanamo are enjoying life in Doha only being under house arrest, due to the secretive deal between the White House, Taliban and Qatar that included Bowe Bergdahl. The Taliban are receiving guests and old friends at their Qatari funded safehouse. One set of visitors included 2 senior members of Haqqani named Qari Abdul Rasheed Omari and Anas Haqqani. When the headquarters office for the Taliban closed after a short term, many of the Taliban leadership stayed in Doha under the protections of Qatari security that also includes protections for Muslim Brotherhood leadership, Hamas and top players of the Shiite regime of Iran.
In summary, the dealing with Haqqani/Taliban goes back to 2009 and had underlying objectives such that many players worked the deal(s) extending sweet honey to Haqqani/Taliban masked in a trade for Bergdahl. Those involved are located globally and there is still the unknown of the Bergdahl investigation the AR 15-6.
Nothing is ever as it seems, there is always much more, a multi-track agenda where money and fame are all realized. Hillary knows, Grossman knows, Kerry knows, Susan Rice knows, and the list goes on, but we will not know more about Bergdahl… you can bet he gets a pass and he deserted.