Secretary of State John Kerry said Americans should not be “lured in” by the Taliban’s victory lap after the Bowe Bergdahl swap and assertions that they should kidnap more Americans to secure Guantanamo releases.
“I’m telling you they aren’t the only ones keeping an eye on them,” Kerry told a CNN reporter in France of the release of the five Taliban commanders to Qatar. “And we have confidence in those requirements. And if they’re violated, then we have the ability to be able to do things.”
“I’m not telling you that they don’t have some ability at some point to go back and get involved. But they also have an ability to get killed doing that. And I don’t think anybody should doubt the capacity of the United States of America to protect Americans, nobody.”
When asked if the U.S. would kill any of the five Taliban , Kerry stressed that “no one should doubt the capacity of America to protect Americans.”
“And the president has always said he will do whatever is necessary in order to protect the United States of America. So, these guys pick a fight with us in the future or now or at any time at enormous risk. And we have proven what we’re capable of doing with al-Qaeda — let me just finish – with al-Qaeda, the core al-Qaeda in West Pakistan, Afghanistan,” he said.
When asked if Bergdahl is being “swift-boated,” Kerry replied, “There’s plenty of time for people to sort through what happened, what didn’t happen. I don’t know all the facts.”
“What I know today is what the president of the United States knows, that it would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what, to leave an American behind in the hands of people who would torture him, cut off his head, do any number of things. And we would consciously choose to do that? That’s the other side of this equation,” Kerry continued.
“I don’t think anybody would think that is the appropriate thing to do. And, you know, it seems to me we have an ability, we know we have the ability to be able to deal with people who want to threaten Americans or threaten the United States. And if that’s what they go back on their word to do or the Qataris don’t enforce what they’ve done, we have any number of avenues available to us to be able to deal with that.”
“What do you say to the families of American soldiers that perhaps these guys could go back and kill Americans again?” the reporter asked Kerry.
“Well, first of all, propaganda is propaganda. They’ll say whatever they want to stir the waters. So people should not be lured in by their propaganda, number one,” he said.
“Number two, we are ending our combat role. Our combat role in Afghanistan is over. We’re going to have very few, you know, people in that kind of position on occasion where – but I honestly, I just think that’s a lot of boloney, to be truthful with you — and to whatever degree it might be true, they will wind up putting themselves at the mercy of those people who are very effective, who are there, who will deal with those matters.”