Top officials now residing in the Biden administration once praised the 2014 exchange of five Taliban members for Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl as a swap that was “absolutely” worth it.
“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki, then a State Department spokeswoman, told Fox News in a 2015 interview.
“We have a commitment to our men and women serving in the military, defending our national security every day, that we’re going to do everything to bring them home if we can, and that’s what we did in this case,” she added.
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The Obama administration faced fierce backlash for the exchange after it was revealed Bergdahl was abducted by the Taliban after he deserted his post in 2009.
In addition, six soldiers were killed after they were tasked with looking for Bergdahl following his disappearance.
He plead guilty to desertion in 2017 but evaded any prison time following his conviction in 2020.
At the time, then-deputy national security adviser Antony Blinken, now secretary of state, backed the decision to release known Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay and said they would be “very carefully monitored.”
In a 2014 interview with MSNBC, Blinken said that “any threat they would pose to the United States [and] to Americans has been sufficiently mitigated,” recently reported the Free Beacon.
But despite assurances of a diminished threat from the Taliban insurgents, four of the five individuals now serve in the Taliban’s interim cabinet.
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According to a local Afghan news outlet listing the newest members of the Taliban government, Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the deputy minister of intelligence before his capture and detainment in Guantanamo Bay from 2002-2014, will act as the director of intelligence.
Noorullah Noori, who was also held for 12 years, has been designated the acting minister of borders and tribal affairs, Khairullah Khairkhah will serve as acting minister of information and culture, and Mohammad Fazl, who was accused of committing war crimes prior to his detainment, will take up the role as defense deputy minister.
The State Department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
But western nations, including the U.S., have condemned the appointments by the Taliban for the lack of inclusivity by appointing only members of the Taliban and its affiliates to govern Afghanistan.
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No women were named to the interim government.
In a press conference Wednesday, Blinken said the administration would “judge” the Taliban government and its appointees “by its actions.”
The Taliban have said the recent appointees are temporary but have not said when official appointments will be made.