Four Taliban members swapped for Bowe Bergdahl now in Afghan government

(FILES) This US Army handout file photo obtained June 01, 2014 shows Private First Class(Pfc) Bowe Bergdahl before his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan. A US military judge ruled November 3,2017 that Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who deserted his Afghanistan post only to be held captive by insurgents for five years, would serve no prison time after a politically charged trial. The judge ordered Sergeant Bergdahl to be dishonorably discharged, his rank slashed to private, and for him to pay a $10,000 fine, the Pentagon said. / AFP PHOTO / US ARMY / HANDOUTHANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images

New York Post: The four members of the so-called “Taliban Five” who have joined the new government are Acting Director of Intelligence Abdul Haq Wasiq, Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs Norullah Noori, Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Fazl, and Acting Minister of Information and Culture Khairullah Khairkhah. The fifth member of the Taliban Five, Mohammad Nabi Omari, was appointed governor of eastern Khost Province last month.

(Khairullah Khairkhwa is the Taliban’s Acting Minister of Information and Culture)

Afghan outlet TOLOnews published a list Tuesday of members of the new “caretaker” government, which features several familiar faces who helped run the war-torn country between 1996 and 2001 — when the Taliban were forced from power by US-led NATO forces following the 9/11 attacks.

Wasiq, Fazl, and Khairkhah all held positions in the former Taliban government — Wasiq as a deputy intelligence chief, Fazl as army chief of staff, and Khairkhah as interior minister.

(Abdul Haq Wasiq is the Acting Director of Intelligence in the Taliban’s government.)

Norullah Noori is the Taliban's Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs.

(Norullah Noori is the Taliban’s Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs)

Mohammad Fazl is the Deputy Defense Minister.

(Mohammad Fazl is the Deputy Defense Minister.

According to assessments written in 2008 by leadership at Guantanamo Bay and later made public by Wikileaks, Wasiq “utilized his office to support [Al Qaeda] and to assist Taliban personnel elude capture” and “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces” in the early days of the Afghanistan war.

The same assessments said that Fazl was alleged to have had “operational associations with significant al Qaeda and other extremist personnel.” Read More