World View: Prisoner Swap Deal Infuriates Many Afghans, 'Big Victory' for Taliban

World View: Prisoner Swap Deal Infuriates Many Afghans, 'Big Victory' for Taliban

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Taliban chief Mullah Omar calls prisoner swap a ‘big victory’
  • Many Afghans express anger at the release of the Taliban prisoners
  • Abbas: Palestinian unity government will ‘renounce violence’ against Israel

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Taliban chief Mullah Omar calls prisoner swap a ‘big victory’

The release of five high-level Taliban prisoners from Gitmo, inexchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl who has been held captive for5 years, is being declared a “big victory” by the supreme leader ofthe Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar:

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entireAfghan Muslim nation, all the Mujahideen and to the families andrelatives of the prisoners for this big victory regarding therelease of five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo prison. …

We shall thank almighty for this great victory. The sacrifice ofour Mujahedin have resulted in the release of our senior leadersfrom the hand of the enemy. …

I thank the government of Qatar, especially its emir Sheikh Tamimbin Hamad (Al Thani), who made sincere efforts for release ofthese leaders and for their mediation and for hostingthem. May Allah grant all of them with rewards”

The five Taliban prisoners had been officials in the Taliban regimedriven out by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan after the September11, 2001, attacks. AFP and NBC

Many Afghans express anger at the release of the Taliban prisoners

Some Afghans are criticizing the release of five Taliban prisoners,saying that they’ll resume fighting within Afghanistan after theU.S. troops leave.

According to the U.S. military, the five are “high risk,” and wereimplicated in the murder of thousands of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan.The Taliban are militants within the Pashtun ethnic group, which isSunni Muslim. There is continuing sectarian tension throughout theregion, and the return of Taliban militants with a history ofslaughter of Shia Muslims is going to raise alarms.

According to one high school teacher living in Kabul:

“This decision showed that the region, Afghanistan andits people aren’t worth anything to American government.

Otherwise, why would they swap a useless army soldier who brokethe law with the five most dangerous Talibanfighters?”

The phrase “broke the law” refers to the accusation that Bergdahl hadbeen captured in the first place because he abandoned his post, andwalked away from his military base with only a compass and a bottle ofwater. Reuters

Abbas: Palestinian unity government will ‘renounce violence’ against Israel

Palestinians expect to form a new “unity government” with a pressconference scheduled for Monday afternoon. The unity government willjoin Hamas, the governing authority in Gaza, with the PalestinianAuthority (PA/Fatah) for the first time since the factions went to warin 2008.

The United States has not taken a public position on the reunificationof the two Palestinian groups, but on Sunday, US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry spoke by phone to PA president Mahmoud Abbas. In the phonecall, Abbas promised Kerry that the new unity government wouldrecognize Israel and renounce violence. Few people believe that thispromise will be kept.

Hamas is threatening to block Monday’s announcement unless a number ofpower-sharing issues are resolved. Previous attempts to form a unitygovernment have failed because of such issues. However, thereunification has become a major international issue, and Hamasofficials are indicating that they’ll go ahead with the announcementdespite their misgivings and expect to make changes later. Jerusalem Post and Gulf News

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