- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2014

President Obama has a new set of critics of his decision to release five suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay detention center for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl — individuals from a population of 300,000 Afghans who literally ran for their lives from Mohammed Fazl in 1999.

Local residents are “responding with fear and dismay to the U.S. release of the notorious commander,” who perpetrated a “scorched earth offensive” to obtain control, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Shopkeeper Masjidi Fatehzada told the Journal there “was not a single undamaged house or garden,” after Fazi was done with the Shomali villages. “My entire shop was burned to the ground. There was nothing left.”

Khwaja Mohammad told the Journal that Fazi’s henchmen jailed his son for nearly three years, plucking him off the street after he “was on his way from the bazaar to buy oil and flour.”

A third man, Dil Agha, said that he escaped Fazi’s wrath by fleeing to the Panjshir Valley when the Taliban came to power.

“When I came back from Panjshir, this whole place was completely destroyed,” he said, the Journal reported. “There wasn’t a single building standing.”

SEE ALSO: Obama admin. told wary military officials to ‘suck it up and salute’ on Taliban release, says Time

The former Guantanamo Bay detainee’s release has been hailed by the Taliban as a major achievement, with its minister of foreign affairs, Mullah Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, saying: “In terms of military significance, Fazl was the most important,” the Journal reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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