Do Taliban Detainees Need to Be Released at End of Afghanistan Conflict?

The legal definition of the end of armed conflict in Afghanistan could determine whether detainees like those released in the Bergdahl swap can remain in custody.

The "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
Add to Briefcase
Kaveh Waddell
June 11, 2014, 10:05 a.m.

In the wake of Pres­id­ent Obama’s an­nounce­ment that the U.S. will pull out the ma­jor­ity of its com­bat troops from Afgh­anistan by the end of 2014, ques­tions have aris­en in Con­gress about the status of Taliban de­tain­ees taken dur­ing the 13-year armed con­flict.

“We’re cur­rently in armed con­flict with the Taliban and al-Qaida,” said Steph­en Pre­ston, gen­er­al coun­sel to the De­part­ment of De­fense, speak­ing in front of the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee on Tues­day. “At some point, the armed con­flict with the Taliban ends.” At that point, Pre­ston said, the U.S. will no longer have a basis in in­ter­na­tion­al law to hold bel­li­ger­ents.

But most agree that the armed con­flict with Taliban will not end when U.S. forces pull out of Afgh­anistan. The battle with the Taliban is gen­er­ally bundled in­to the lar­ger fight against al-Qaida, and so the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion could use the Au­thor­iz­a­tion for Use of Mil­it­ary Force (AUMF) to hold de­tain­ees like those it re­leased in ex­change for Sgt. Bowe Ber­g­dahl long past the end of troop pres­ence in Afgh­anistan.

Some in Con­gress are try­ing to lim­it the AUMF, which the Bush and Obama ad­min­is­tra­tions have used to jus­ti­fy in­def­in­ite de­ten­tion at Guantanamo Bay and mil­it­ary ac­tion against forces “as­so­ci­ated with” al-Qaida world­wide. A meas­ure in­tro­duced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Cal­if., would al­low the AUMF to ex­pire in 2015.

But in Wed­nes­day’s hear­ing, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., re­af­firmed that the U.S. would not be com­pelled to re­lease Taliban de­tain­ees “as long as we’re fight­ing al-Qaida and as long as we’re fight­ing their as­so­ci­ated forces.”

Pre­ston was called to testi­fy along­side De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel to an­swer ques­tions about the pris­on­er swap that traded Ber­g­dahl for five high-level Taliban de­tain­ees from Guantanamo Bay.

What We're Following See More »
DOCUMENTS OBTAINED BY U.S. INTEL
Putin-Linked Think Tank Developed Plan to Influence U.S. Election
3 days ago
THE LATEST

A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."

Source:
HELPED WIN FISA APPROVAL
FBI Relied on Dossier Allegations to Monitor Page
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."

Source:
AIR FORCE SCRAMBLES JETS IN RESPONSE
Russian Bombers Fly Near Alaska
5 days ago
WHY WE CARE
A MESSAGE TO RUSSIA?
Pentagon Deploying F-35s to Europe
1 weeks ago
THE LATEST

"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.

Source:
NOT ON SCHEDULE
Tillerson Meets Putin
1 weeks ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login