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Too early to pin hope on prisoner swap for peace

Too early to pin hope on prisoner swap for peace

Jun 10, 2014 - 13:49

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The White House said Monday it was too early to say if the controversial prisoner swap would pave the way for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Talibaninfo-icon, however the move kindled hope for a political reconciliation.

“Even if that happens it would be difficult and long.” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters here.

He said the US’s goal was to secure the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. “We did that in a way that protects our national security. The question is an open one, which is: Does this pave the way for more fruitful talks? And I think what I would say that is it’s too early to tell,” he said.

“You can't reach a conclusion about that kind of thing within just a few days. This is the kind of thing that you can ascertain over a period of time,” Earnest said in response to a question.

“If that paves the way, if that builds a little trust and creates some space to enhance or restart negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government and there is a role for the US and our other coalition partners to play in that, then we welcome that opportunity and we'll certainly consider it,” he said.

Responding to questions, Earnest said the common sense did indicate that because there was an ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistaninfo-icon, there was an incentive for both sides to try to resolve their differences. “Whether they can do that remains to be seen. The odds of that are difficult and long,” he said.

“And if there is a process that has begun here, it will be a painstaking one and not one that's resolved overnight. But if we can build some trust and this does create an opportunity for more fruitful conversations, so be it.
But the ultimate goal was to fulfill a promise that every commander in chief, going back to George Washington, had made to every single American in uniform not to leave them behind, Earnest said.


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