Secret Bergdahl Prediction: Only 1 Will Shun Taliban

2 likely to return as honchos, says assessment made during negotiations
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2014 6:41 AM CDT
Secret Bergdahl Prediction: Only 1 Will Shun Taliban
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

The back story of the Bowe Bergdahl swap gets one detail richer today by way of a Wall Street Journal report on a classified assessment that found two of the five Guantanamo detainees that were to be released would likely end up back in a senior role with the Taliban. The news comes via unnamed US officials, who say the assessment—the work of spy agencies and completed while the swap was being debated—found that two others would likely take up active roles, while just one of the detainees would likely steer clear of the Taliban. The Journal sees the assessment as "ammunition" for lawmakers who have dubbed the swap unwise; one official counters that it's "not a rigorous mathematical equation" but simply a forecast of what could happen based on the men's former positions, connections, and experience at Gitmo.

The two detainees named as likely to return to a senior leadership role are Mullah Mohammad Fazl, a onetime Taliban army chief of staff who we previously reported is wanted for allegedly killing thousands of Shiites near Kabul between 1998 and 2001; and Khairullah Khairkhwa, formerly an interior minister who was "directly associated" with Osama bin Laden. Abdul Haq Wasiq is the detainee branded by the assessment as unlikely to become an active Taliban member; the Journal reports that before his 2001 detention he had planned to hand intel to the US, and may harbor resentment over that detention in the face of such planned cooperation. (More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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