Malinowski under fire for past calls to release Taliban detainees from Gitmo

Malinowski under fire for past calls to release Taliban detainees from Gitmo

Rep. Tom Malinowki’s past is coming back to haunt him following the badly botched evacuation of American troops from Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, one day after the last transport left Kabul airport, Republican state Senator Tom Kean Jr. (who’s challenging Malinowski in 2022) dinged Malinowski for his past advocacy for Taliban member detained at Gitmo.

“In yet another instance of poor judgement, Malinowski lobbied for their release. Today, some of them are helping run Afghanistan,” said Kean in a statement. “As thousands of Americans and our allies are currently trapped in Afghanistan fearing for their lives, we deserve to know if Tom Malinowski stands by his naive foreign policy position.”

Malinowski, who used to work for a group called ‘Human Rights Watch’ before joining Congress, told the LA Times in 2006 that being a member of the Taliban wasn’t enough in his opinion to justify detaining them at Gitmo:

“Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said the full significance of freeing the detainees could not be assessed until their fates were clear. Because of pressure from their governments, most European nationals have been released or transferred.

Many of the remaining detainees are from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, Malinowski said.

Afghanistan has a process for granting amnesty to low-level Taliban members and prosecuting senior leaders of the old regime, making it an appropriate place to release the prisoners, he said.

“If they have committed crimes, we support their prosecution,” Malinowski said. “If their crime was that they were Taliban, then they should be sent back to Afghanistan.” Officials in Guantanamo would not release any information about the nationalities of the men cleared for release.”

It’s been widely reported that some Gitmo detainees released by the U.S. government returned to the Taliban in leadership positions.