CNN host Candy Crowley pressed White House national security adviser Susan Rice on the Taliban prisoner swap conducted Saturday, asking “point blank, did the US negotiate with terrorists” in violation of its long-held policy?
Crowley spoke with Rice on Sunday about the exchange of five high-ranking Taliban detainees — two of which are accused of the mass murder of religious minorities in Afghanistan — for Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl, whom many claim was captured after deserting his post and walking into the Afghan wilderness in 2009.
Berghdahl was captured by the Haqqani network, a close ally of the Taliban and an acknowledged terrorist organization according to the State Department.
“Point blank, did the US negotiate with terrorists for his release?” Crowley asked.
“Candy, what we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn’t leave a man or woman on the battlefield,” Rice replied. “It’s very important for folks to understand, if we got into a situation where we said because of who has captured an American soldier on the battlefield, we will leave that person behind.”
“We would be in a whole new era for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform,” she continued, “because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back.”
Crowley pointed out that it was actually the Haqqani network who captured and helped hold Berghdahl.
“We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt,” Rice replied.