4 years, 10 months ago
From Fox News:
The US has been secretly releasing captured Taliban fighters from a detention center in Afghanistan in a bid to strengthen its hand in peace talks with the insurgent group, the Washington Post reported Monday.
The “strategic release” program of high-level detainees is designed to give the US a bargaining chip in some areas of Afghanistan where international forces struggle to exercise control, the report said.
Under the risky program, the hardened fighters must promise to give up violence and are threatened with further punishment, but there is nothing to stop them resuming attacks against Afghan and American troops.
“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” a US official told the Post.
There are two problems with this report. The second problem is that Taliban fighters are being released. We all knew that, and this continues a trend set in place months and even years ago. At one point in time they could be held for 72 hours, and then that was changed to 96 hours, and within a few days many of the fighters captured by the Marines in the Helmand Province were back in the streets of their villages taunting the Marines.
Apparently the trend has been hastened, and that only points to desperation and the looming withdrawal date. But the first problem is right there in the fourth paragraph of the report. “Everyone agrees that they … should remain in detention.” As we have discussed here before, prisons do not work in counterinsurgency.
There you have it. That’s what we do when the campaign becomes hopeless. We imprison fighters rather than kill them, and then we release them because we are losing the campaign and want to win good will with the enemy. One sad part about all of this is that otherwise good men side with a losing strategy. I just witnessed Major General Bob Scales advocate this strategy on Fox News.
Again. How sad. Bring the troops home now. We have acquiesced to defeat, and it is immoral to keep them there any longer.