News & Politics

Afghanistan’s Fall to the Taliban Is Also Part of Barack Obama’s Legacy

Afghanistan’s Fall to the Taliban Is Also Part of Barack Obama’s Legacy
AP Photo/Vincent Thian

The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the botched withdrawal are, without a doubt, the fault of Joe Biden. He’s made a series of mistakes that have created chaos, alienated our allies, and made us less safe.

But the events of the past couple of weeks are also a depressing epilogue to the already terrible presidency of Barack Obama.

While running for president in 2007, Obama promised that he would close the terrorist detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—commonly referred to as Gitmo—as soon as he was president.

True to his word, he signed an executive order on January 22, 2009, requiring Gitmo to close within one year.

Luckily, Congress wasn’t exactly thrilled with his plan and refused to go along. But Obama didn’t care. While Obama couldn’t shut Gitmo down, he systematically purged it of terrorist inmates as a sort of end-run around congressional opposition to the closure.

Obama’s decision to close Gitmo was political, not strategic. It was a foolish campaign promise by someone who ran as the anti-George W. Bush. The national security concerns were irrelevant to him.

In 2014, Obama infamous traded five Gitmo detainees for American deserter Bowe Bergdahl. All of them had been senior Taliban prisoners. The U.S. Government Accountability Office later ruled that the prisoner swap violated federal law.

“The Department of Defense violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30-days notice to certain congressional committees,” the GAO explained.

But it was too late. The deal was done. Obama not only released five jihadis illegally, but his top intelligence officials had warned him that four of the prisoners he swapped for Bergdahl — Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Mohammed Nabi Omari — would return to the battlefield against America.

And they’re making headlines now.

Last week, my PJ Media colleague Robert Spencer reported that Khairullah Khairkhwa was among the Taliban leadership that took Kabul. “The presence of Khairullah Khairkhwa among the Taliban leadership in Kabul is a vivid illustration of how disastrously wrongheaded, futile, and self-defeating the Left’s foreign policy really is,” Spencer wrote. “Jihadis will happily lie to Americans to get what they want, as Obama’s team happily accepted the assurances that the five jihadis freed from Guantanamo for Bergdahl would not return to the jihad.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

On Wednesday, we learned that another one of the four high-risk detainees freed by Obama, Mohammed Nabi Omari, has been appointed by the Taliban to be governor of the Khost Province in Afghanistan.

According to Fox News, “Khost Province, which will be under Omari’s rule, includes Khost, the largest city in the southeastern part of the country, and borders neighboring Pakistan.”

Related: Feckless Biden Administration Refuses to Guarantee the Safety of Americans in Afghanistan

Not a bad gig for someone who used to be a prisoner of the United States. Could this have been an intentional, symbolic appointment? The Taliban have been known to make symbolic gestures. Last week, the Taliban released a staged photo of Taliban fighters mocking the iconic image of American soldiers raising the flag at Iowa Jima. In the photo, they are wearing American combat gear left behind in Afghanistan and raising the Taliban flag.

So we have plenty of reason to believe that the Taliban may have intentionally appointed Omari to a leadership post as yet another insult to America, which once had Omari in custody before trading him and four others in exchange for a deserter.

What will the next insult be?