In the summer of 2018, the Trump Administration began quietly reaching out to the Taliban to strike a peace deal in Afghanistan. With little apparent sense of irony, President Trump pursued negotiations through the same Taliban officials that during his presidential campaign he routinely called vicious, bloodthirsty terrorists. The same five men who President Obama released from Guantanamo Bay in the 2014 prisoner exchange for U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

Trump’s Taliban peace talks have been underway in Doha, Qatar, since January, and as the full scope of the war comes into view, Bergdahl’s status as a detested scapegoat can and should be reassessed. In history’s long view, he may be remembered as the key that unlocked a frozen peace process.

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