Qatar denies Taliban leader trying to rejoin rebels
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar has rejected reports that one of the Taliban leaders released last year as part of a prisoner swap was trying to reestablish contact with rebels.
Five Taliban prisoners were freed from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. They were released to Qatar, which said it would monitor the former detainees' activities.
However, multiple media reports quoting anonymous sources said one of them had tried to contact the Taliban.
Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar, said his government would honour the commitment it had held out to the United States on the release of the Taliban.
He said the released insurgents were under strict monitoring and measures had already been put in place to limit their activities under the agreement.
Al-Attiyah expressed the views at a time when media reported last week that one of five Taliban commanders was trying to contact other insurgent leaders to return to the battlefield.
The reports were received with outrage by the US. “This report is troubling, but wholly predictable,” remarked Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“None of these individuals (five Taliban) has returned to the battlefield; none of them is allowed to travel outside of Qatar and none has engaged in physical violence," the White House press secretary told a news conference.
In fact, Josh Earnest said, each of them at was still in Qatar, where they were subject to monitoring and other mitigation measures limiting their activities. He added the US had been in touch with the Qataris about the mitigation efforts.
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