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Obama Went To Court To Keep Taliban Leader At Gitmo

From the Weekly Standard:

Obama Flips on Taliban Commander

Three years ago, Obama went to court to keep a Taliban leader at Gitmo. Now he’s out.

By STEPHEN F. HAYES | June 7, 2014

While some top Obama administration officials are downplaying threats posed the five senior Taliban officials released from Guantanamo in the prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, not long ago the administration went to court to prevent one of those men from going free. In a decision on May 31, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in favor of the government–and "Respondent Barack Obama"–in its effort to keep Khairulla Khairkhwa in detention. That decision, once classified "Secret," has since been declassified and released.

Today, with these Taliban leaders free in Qatar and already looking likely to rejoin the fight against America, top Obama administration officials are seeking to reassure Americans that the threats are minimal–or, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, "sufficiently mitigated." But just three years ago, the same administration argued in court against Khairkhwa’s writ of habeas corpus because of his senior position with the Taliban, his close relationship with Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and his support for Taliban forces fighting against the United States.

The case provides a window on the Obama administration’s concerns–concerns that many top intelligence and military officials continue to have. The court summarized the government’s case this way. "The government contends that the petitioner, a former senior Taliban official, is lawfully detained because he was part of Taliban forces and purposefully and materially supported  such forces in hostilities against the United States," the court wrote in the introduction to its opinion.

The decision affirmed the arguments put forth by the Obama administration, noting that Khairkhwa "was, without question, a senior member of the Taliban both before and after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001." It continued: Khairkhwa was "a member of the Taliban’s highest governing body, the Supreme Shura" and "was a close associate of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, who appointed him Governor of the province of Herat in 1999."

Khairkhwa’s legal team argued that he had no military responsibilities with the Taliban, but the court found that "the record belies that contention." Why? In part because of what Khairkhwa himself acknowledged doing.

"The petitioner admitted that after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he served as a member of a Taliban envoy that met clandestinely with senior Iranian officials to discuss Iran’s offer to provide the Taliban with weapons and other military support in anticipation of imminent hostilities with US coalition forces," read the opinion. "The petitioner has also exhibited detailed knowledge about sensitive military-related matters, such as the locations, personnel and resources of Taliban military installations, the relative capabilities of different weapons systems and the locations of weapons caches." …

Luckily what Mr. Khairkhwa admitted in the past now has to ignored. The ‘parole review board’ that Obama-hand picked in 2011 has, in effect, decided that any and all statements made by detainees were made under torture, so they cannot be used against them.

The Obama administration argued that Khairkhwa had fought with the mujahideen in the 1980s "and remained deeply involved in the Taliban’s military operations until his capture in early 2002." Khairkhwa, according to the government’s case, has vast experience on the ground as a military leader, having commanded the Taliban forces during their offensive on Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998, among other efforts. Eyewitnesses to those attacks described a "systematic massacre" of local Shiites as part of the Khairkhwa-led offensive.

The court found persuasive the Obama administration’s argument that Khairkhwa helped lead Taliban fighters after the beginning of hostilities with the U.S. in the fall of 2001. Khairkhwa "had a "long history of involvement with the Taliban’s military affairs" and was a "prominent and influential leader within the Taliban."

Before he was released, the Obama administration argued that Khairkhwa’s long experience as a jihadist leader required his continued detention by the U.S. government. Now that Obama has chosen to transfer him to Qatar the administration would have the public believe that he and the other freed Taliban leaders do not constitute a threat to the United States…

So, what changed for Obama over the last few years?

That is probably a rhetorical question, because the answer is so obvious: In 2011, Obama was running for re-election. And one of his foremost campaign boasts was his toughness on terrorism. (Which is also why he had to call off this swap in March 2012, once it was leaked.) But he doesn’t have to worry about that now.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Obama Went To Court To Keep Taliban Leader At Gitmo”

  1. canary says:

    Section 1035(d) of the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Authorization Act states:

    Congress will be notified 30 days before a transfer.

    Elements required in the notification include:
    (1) a detailed statement of the basis for the transfer or release;
    (2) an explanation of why the transfer or release is in the national security interests of the United States”;
    (3) a description of any actions taken to mitigate the risks of reengagement by the individual to be transferred or released.”

    More regulations.


    so much for following regulations on how who and how the recieving governement is follow requirements

  2. canary says:

    Just my feelings on why we should impeach.

    Further in violation of Section 1035(d) of the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Authorization Act is the regulations on country detainees can only be released to aside on a government installation, when these 5 are living in private rich villas, is the history of the recieving country in the past in holding detainees.

    It lost track of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was there in 1996.
    Another Gitmo detainee was released to Qatar in 2008 escaped and was found in London


    1. It will take forever and as far as worry about incompetent loopy Biden running things.
    2. It’s the principal that counts even if the impeacment fails. .
    3. It might just rein Obama in, and if it has the opposite effect and he violates more laws it can only help the country in the long run when all the executive orders can be overturned.

    4. It might keep sob busy. I’d be happy to just to see the smile wiped off his face.

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