Four of the five detainees held at Guantanamo and released in a swap with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl were Taliban government bureaucrats. One of the five, Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, was interior ministry prior to the carpet of bombs that removed the government in Afghanistan. The others were mid-level government officials.
Imagine if Afghanistan decided to kidnap the Department of Homeland Security boss, Jeh Johnson, and intern him without legal representation because he allegedly consorted with terrorists. Johnson holds a similar position to Khairkhwa.
The Taliban came to power in 1996 following the CIA’s war that virtually destroyed the country. “The Taliban imposed an ultra-sectarian version of Islam, closely related to Wahhabism, the ruling creed in Saudi Arabia. Women have been denied education, health care, and the right to work. They must cover themselves completely when in public. Minorities have been brutally repressed. Even singing and dancing in public are forbidden,” writes Phil Gasper.
The Taliban brand of extremist Islam, with roots in Saudi Arabia and alien to Afghanistan, was promoted by the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI. Despite this, the United States supported the Taliban. “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis. There will be Aramco [the consortium of oil companies that controlled Saudi oil], pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that,” a U.S. diplomat mused in 1997.
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, despite the high risk they pose, are not in custody, either.
“If the Taliban leads to stability and international recognition then it’s positive,” remarked Unocal executive vice president Chris Taggart. Unocal had proposed building a $4.5 billion oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Robin Raphel, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asia, became the “face of the Unocal pipeline,” according to an official of the former Afghan government.
As documented by French author Guillaume Dasquie, the relationship with the Taliban went south when the Bush administration threatened the Taliban with military reprisal if it refused to go along with its demands.
“A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before last week’s attacks,” the BBC reported on September 18, 2001. “Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.”
“The American media has conducted a systematic cover-up of the real economic and strategic interests that underlie the war against Afghanistan, in order to sustain the pretense that the war emerged overnight, full-blown, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11,” Patrick Martin wrote on November 20, 2001.
“The pundits for the American television networks and major daily newspapers celebrate the rapid military defeat of the Taliban regime as an unexpected stroke of good fortune. They distract public attention from the conclusion that any serious observer would be compelled to draw from the events of the past two weeks: that the speedy victory of the US-backed forces reveals careful planning and preparation by the American military, which must have begun well before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”
The United States, or rather to global elite who long ago captured the United States government, said after the 9/11 attacks it was uniformly in step with the “world community” on invading Afghanistan and taking out both al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In fact, the Bush administration and the Pentagon did not enjoy a consensus and deliberately violated the United Nations charter, specifically article 51 allowing for self-defense. The Taliban had not invaded the United States and the U.S. government never sufficiently demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt al-Qaeda was responsible for attack the United States.
“Bush’s justification for attacking Afghanistan was that it was harboring Osama bin Laden and training terrorists. Iranians could have made the same argument to attack the United States after they overthrew the vicious Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979 and he was given safe haven in the United States,” writes Marjorie Cohn. “The people in Latin American countries whose dictators were trained in torture techniques at the School of the Americas could likewise have attacked the torture training facility in Fort Benning, Ga., under that specious rationale.”
The people of Afghanistan and Iraq – the latter having absolutely nothing to do with al-Qaeda – might be expected to attack the Pentagon and companies supporting the invasion effort under the same pretext and logic.
Kidnapping Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a host of neocons and holding them in dismal prison cells for years on end without legal representation in violation of international law would be on par with holding members of the Taliban government.
Of course, even entertaining this idea is considered antithetical and criminal. But then the United States — or its handpicked national leaders, anyway — considers itself the indispensable country. This means every other country in the world is dispensable and leaders can be snatched up by the CIA and locked away in dungeons.