In a letter to the Pentagon released Wednesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) said a payment was made to an Afghan intermediary early this year to help secure the May 31 release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for nearly five years by the Haqqani Network in Pakistan, which is classified as a terrorist organization.
Pentagon officials have denied paying cash to secure the release of Sgt. Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009. A senior defense official reiterated that denial when asked about Mr. Hunter’s letter.
According to Mr. Hunter, the intermediary took the money but disappeared and failed to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release. Mr. Hunter didn’t specify how much money was paid to the Afghan intermediary, and didn’t identify the sources of his information.
The Haqqani Network is worse than the Taliban in some ways. It’s a lot closer to Al Qaeda to the extent of nearly being it. It’s also responsible for killing a lot of people.
Funding it is worse than funding the Taliban. But on top of that, the whole thing also fell through which makes the entire operation look more like clown college than ever with the whole thing culminating in the release of top Taliban leaders.
Obama has been on his high horse about the Europeans paying ransoms to ISIS and other Al Qaeda groups. He has a point. That money helped it become a major threat. But his position is going to be significantly undermined if it turns out that the US was paying ransoms.
Furthermore Qatar’s involvement already looks like plausible deniability payments with the Qataris paying the money while getting benefits from their relationship with the administration. If actual money changed hands to HQ or someone associated with them, that means that Obama has come dangerously close to funding Al Qaeda.