Sir: The lopsided deal between the US and the Taliban that led to the release of five top Taliban commanders is a victory for the forces of darkness that seek to consume this region. These commanders are by all accounts ruthless, well trained, and were once important parts of the Taliban’s planning and strategy councils. Most importantly, the exchange will bolster the morale of the Taliban and reinforce their belief that the west is indecisive and weak. Unfortunately they appear to have a point. The US says it does not negotiate with terrorists, but this appears to be a case where it has. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel made the technical distinction that Qatar negotiated for the US, which previously attempted to negotiate with the Taliban using intermediaries in 2013. Directly or indirectly, they are doing what they said they would never do. He also mentioned that releasing or exchanging prisoners of war was a normal process, however since these Taliban prisoners as well as other innocent men and women were technically called ‘enemy combatants’ for years, this is another blatant piece of backtracking by the US. It really goes to show that in power politics principles mean very little, whether you are the US or the Taliban.