Breaking News! Exclusive! Shocking! Okay, it’s really none of those things. In fact, it’s quite predictable. At a rally in South Carolina, Donald Trump claimed that the 5 men we swapped for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had now returned to the battlefield against the US. Since his lips were moving, we know he was lying. Again.
In September 2014, we gave a Pants on Fire rating to a claim that “Three of five detainees swapped (for Bergdahl) are now ISIS leaders.” Has something changed since then?
Best as we can tell, no.
The five detainees (sometimes called the Taliban Five) were released to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. Qatar is understood to be a neutral state, as opposed to a “battlefield” for insurgent activity. Under the agreement, the five released detainees are not allowed to leave the country.
This travel ban was initially supposed to last one year, ending June 1, 2015, but it has been extended.
Multiple administration officials and experts told us the Taliban Five haven’t left Qatar, and we couldn’t find any evidence to the contrary.
“They’re all still in Qatar,” said Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
The United States and Qatar are working together to keep tabs on the Taliban Five. Caggins declined to comment on specific security and surveillance arrangements. But he said “the State Department is in continual discussion with the government of Qatar” regarding the former detainees.
Another barrier to the ex-detainees’ return to the battlefield is an additional travel ban beyond the U.S.-Qatar agreement. Four of the five are restricted from leaving the country due to a travel ban imposed by a 1998 United Nations Security Council Resolution, said Barnett Rubin, associate director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.
In related news, dog bites man and water is wet.