President Barack Obama apparently traded five jailed jihadis held in Guantanamo for one American soldier, despite federal law, which requires Congress to be notified before prisoners are transferred.
Obama used a Rose Garden press event to tout the surprise trade — which he won by making critical, last-minute concessions — while the parents of the freed soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, stood alongside.
At the end of the brief event, the soldier’s father, Bob Bergdahl, recited the most frequent phrase in the Koran — “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim” —which means “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate.”
After Bergdahl finished his statement and his praise for Allah, Obama hugged him.
The Taliban echoed Bergdahl, saying the trade happened “due to the benevolence of Allah Almighty and the sacrifices of the heroic and courageous Mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate.”
The United States intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban’s Islamic theocracy, which sheltered al Qaida’s jihadis during their preparation for the 9/11 atrocity and afterwards.
However, Obama has repeatedly argued that al Qaida are “extremists” — not Islamists. He has redefined the campaign as only a war against al Qaida — not the Taliban — and has repeatedly announced he intends to end the campaign, regardless of the consequences.
The five jihadis released by Obama are senior leaders of the Taliban. One is the former head of the Taliban’s army.
They were released by Obama from the secure Guantanamo prison to the custody of the United Arab Emirates.
White House officials acknowledged that the sudden trade violated a federal law requiring a 30-day notice to Congress before prisoners are transferred.
“The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement,” officials told media outlets.