On Dec. 16, 2014, Pakistan experienced the deadliest terrorist attack ever to occur in that country when 7 members of the Pakistan Taliban, aka Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), entered the Army Public School in Peshawar and opened fire on school staff and children, killing 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren.
Less than 5 months prior to Pakistan Taliban’s slaughter of those schoolchildren, Barack Obama had seen fit to release a senior commander of the TTP, Latif Mehsud (pic below).
Front Page magazine reports on Dec. 7, 2014, that just last year Secretary of State John Kerry was claiming Mehsud’s capture as a major victory.
But DW, Germany’s international broadcaster, reports that on July 6, 2014, U.S. military officials handed over a high-ranking Taliban commander to the Pakistani government, as a way to cement trust among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States.
A Pakistani security official said the Taliban commander is Latif Mehsud, former number two commander in the Pakistani Taliban and close aid of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike last year.
The United States, which had been holding Mehsud since his capture in October 2013, will lose its legal right to detain prisoners in Afghanistan at the end of the year, when the combat mission for the US-led force in the country ends.
Note: Obama has changed his mind. The New York Times reports, Nov. 21, 2014, that Obama quietly expanded the authorization to use U.S. troops in Afghanistan to include offensive ops next year, despite his announcement last May that the U.S. military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year.
The US is believed to be housing several dozen prisoners at a detention center near Bagram airfield, and officials are currently grappling with the question of what to do with the prisoners housed there. “We’re actually just going through and returning all the third-country nationals detained in Afghanistan to resolve that issue,” a US embassy spokeswoman said.
Pakistan has long demanded that Afghanistan hand over militants operating in its territory, and the issue was a source of tension between Pakistan and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The latter had repeatedly accused the Pakistani government of harboring militants suspected of launching attacks across the border.
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.