The Taliban had proposed the swap for five of its higher-ups. “I opposed the swap for several reasons,” Panetta writes.
He didn’t believe the Taliban was sincere in its efforts to reconcile with the Afghan government for starters. “Second, I did not believe it was fair to trade five for one. I might have considered one for one, but not five for one,” he adds. “Secretary Clinton and I – and others – did not think we could proceed.”
That aside, Panetta endeavors to quash the debate about whether Mr. Bergdahl “deserved” to be rescued. “My view is that we should leave no man behind,” he says. “The bigger issue is: Is this a good deal for the security interests on the United States?”
His conclusion: “That depends entirely on the assurance that we received [from Qatar] and whether in fact these five very bad men are prevented from returning to the fight.”