The Washington Post reports:
The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.
As the United States has unsuccessfully pursued a peace deal with the Taliban, the “strategic release” program has quietly served as a live diplomatic channel, allowing American officials to use prisoners as bargaining chips in restive provinces where military power has reached its limits.
But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.
So this is the plan: (1) We release dangerous Taliban fighters. (2) ??? (3) The Taliban abandons its quest to enslave Afghanistan to their brand of Islamism. Sounds brilliant, but could we get a little more detail on step 2?
But have no fear. If they attack us again, and are captured again, then they’ll be detained again. That’ll show them.