The LA Times Whitewashes the Taliban Five
5:35 PM, Jun 7, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Khairkhwa’s military role went far beyond the meetings with the Iranians. According to Judge Urbina’s ruling, Khairkhwa “has also exhibited a detailed knowledge about sensitive military-related matters, such as locations, personnel and resources of Taliban military installations, the relative capabilities of different weapons systems and the locations of weapons caches.”
Judge Urbina continued:
Notice that the court’s straight-forward assessment of the Taliban’s “governance model” flies in the face of what the supposed “experts” told the LA Times. The publication claimed that three of the Taliban five, including Khairkhwa, held strictly “political” roles that were divorced from military affairs. This was simply not so.
And, according to the Circuit Court, Khairkhwa knew so much about the Taliban’s arms that he “provided detailed information of the Taliban’s assessments of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and of the Taliban’s efforts to obtain and protect Stinger missiles.”
In a op-ed for CNN.com, Anand Gopal, a fellow at the left-leaning New America Foundation, argued that the “Taliban prisoner swap makes sense.” Gopal opens by claiming that “Early in 2002, Taliban leader Khairullah Khairkhwa phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking for a job.” Gopal says that Khairkhwa “was hoping to use” his relationship with Karzai “to switch allegiances to the new U.S.-backed Afghan government.” But before a deal could be made, Gopal claims, Khairkhwa was betrayed by “a rival Taliban figure.”
This is not what happened, according to the D.C. District Court and the Circuit Court, both of which rejected Khaikhwa’s claims. First, the District Court found that there is no evidence Khairkhwa attempted to turn himself into American forces (another story that was floated during Khairkhwa’s habeas hearing). Nor is there any convincing evidence that Khairkhwa was trying to join, or surrender to, Hamid Karzai and the new Afghan government. Khairkhwa’s apologists have offered different versions of the story (Gopal says Kharikhwa’s supposed offer came in early 2002, others say in late 2001), but none of them ring true.
District Court Judge Urbina found (citations omitted):
Judge Urbina went on to evaluate other aspects of Khairkhwa’s story. Khairkhwa claimed that he went to Chaman, Pakistan (instead of turning himself in Afghanistan, which would have been the easier option) simply because he needed medical treatment for his stomach. Not so, according to the District Court (citations omitted):
In sum, Judge Urbina found:
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