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    Taliban prisoners to stay under observation: CIA

    KABUL (PAN): The US intelligence chief has said even if Taliban prisoners were released from the Guantanamo Bay prison, they will remain under surveillance, a foreign news agency reported on Wednesday.

    CIA Director David Petraeus told the Senate Intelligence Committee that analysts had provided the Obama administration with an assessment of the security risks regarding the proposed transfer of the five Taliban leaders from the detention centre in Cuba.

    Although the CIA chief did not mention the country were the insurgents might be shifted, media outlets had reported the detainees could be sent to Qatar, where peace talks between the Taliban and the US are ongoing.

    On January 9, some Arab and Pakistan media outlets reported the US had freed Mullah Khairullah Khair Khwa, a former interior minister, Noorullah Noori, an ex-governor, and Mullah Fazil in exchange for the release of Bowe Robert Bergdahl, a US soldier who has been in Taliban's captivity since June 2009.

    But the militant movement strongly rejected the claim. A Taliban source told Pajhwok Afghan News a dispute had cropped up between the US and them on the prisoner swap. Both sides had previously agreed on exchanging prisoners before entering peace talks, he said.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Ludin last week told a news conference in Kabul that the Afghan government had no objection to the transfer of the Taliban prisoners to Qatar.

    mas/ma/mud



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