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 »
HOUSE TO VOTE LATER THIS WEEK
Criminal Justice Reform Bill Clears Senate
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate passed a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill on Tuesday night, handing a significant victory to President Trump and senators who lobbied to advance the legislation before the end of the year. Senators voted 87-12 on the legislation, which merges a House-passed prison reform bill aimed at reducing recidivism with a handful of changes to sentencing laws and mandatory minimum prison sentences." The House aims to vote on the measure when it reconvenes later this week.

Source:
"EKE OUT" MORE COOPERATION
Judge Delays Flynn Sentencing
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan "agreed Tuesday to postpone Michael Flynn’s sentencing after a hearing to decide the punishment for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser went awry." Sullivan gave Flynn a chance to reconsider his decision to plead guilty, adding that he could not "guarantee a sentence without prison time, even after the special counsel’s office recommended that Flynn not be incarcerated. After a brief recess, Sullivan and prosecutors agreed to delay sentencing so that Flynn could "eke out the last modicum of cooperation."

Source:
VOTE IS 82-12
Senate Advances Criminal Justice Reform
18 hours ago
THE LATEST
TRIED TO LINK HIM TO "RADICAL ISLAMIC GROUPS"
Russia Targeting Mueller with Cyber Ops
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
RELEASED ON BAIL
Partner of Flynn Charged in Turkey Case
1 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