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
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 »
CONTINUING OBSTRUCTION INVESTIGATION
House Democrats Subpoena Don McGahn
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Don McGahn as part of a House-led obstruction investigation into President Donald Trump. The subpoena comes just days after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed that McGahn witnessed and testified about potential obstruction of justice by Trump."

Source:
CAIN ASKED HIM NOT TO
Trump Won't Nominate Herman Cain for the Fed
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump said Monday that he would not nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve after the former GOP presidential candidate asked him not to. Senate Republicans had warned the White House against naming the businessman and 2012 presidential hopeful to serve on the body's board of governors."

Source:
WANTS IT BY MAY 1
Nadler Subpoenas Unredacted Report
3 days ago
THE LATEST
ONLY TWO ARE KNOWN
Mueller Made 14 Criminal Referrals
4 days ago
THE LATEST
POSTED ONLINE
The Report Is Here
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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