Daniel Rodriguez - From COP Keating to College Football - Someone You Should Know
Jan. 4 in US Military History

Obama to Release Gitmo Taliban in exchange for...?

From the Guardian UK:

The US has agreed in principle to release high-ranking Taliban officials from Guantánamo Bay in return for the Afghan insurgents' agreement to open a political office for peace negotiations in Qatar, the Guardian has learned.

...the handful of Taliban figures will include Mullah Khair Khowa, a former interior minister, and Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan...

More controversially, the Taliban are demanding the release of the former army commander Mullah Fazl Akhund. Washington is reported to be considering formally handing him over to the custody of another country, possibly Qatar.

The releases would be to reciprocate for Tuesday's announcement from the Taliban that they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar to conduct peace negotiations "with the international community" – the most significant political breakthrough in ten years of the Afghan conflict...

The outcome is not clear.  We are releasing prisoners and letting them open a political office.  Perhaps we'll get our POW back.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps we will negotiate a peace settlement, an official return of the Taliban, or something else entirely.

But what is clear that this is done in hope that a lot of things will happen.  Everyone that comes here to this military blog knows that hope is not a plan.  And knows that hope and change isn't exactly the hope and change we had hoped for...

...Western diplomats hope the opening of an office in Qatar will also lessen Pakistan's control of the Taliban. Pakistan plays host to most of the Taliban leadership, which it sees as an important bargaining counter in negotiations over the future of the region.

Anyone think that the released Taliban won't return to the fight?

Does anyone think that opening an office in Qatar will reduce the Taliban's presence in Pakistan or it's dependence on it?

What is also clear are the objectives of the Taliban, their beliefs, and their will to set their own people back to before the stoneage in order to re-establish an Islamic Emirate.

Good luck, Mr. President.  You'll need luck more than hope.