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US, Qatar in talks to decide fate of Taliban 5

US, Qatar in talks to decide fate of Taliban 5

Jun 01, 2015 - 13:45

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Latest reports have said that US is in talks with the government of Qatar over returning of five Talibaninfo-icon fighters to Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Earlier, the five Taliban were exchanged for US sergeant and transferred from Guantanamo Bay could return to Afghanistan unless alternative is agreed.

"I want to make sure that they're not going to be allowed to return to the fight," Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan said on CBS talk show "Face the Nation."

The five senior Taliban figures were exchanged for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on May 31, 2014, and transferred from the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the custody of Qatar.

A year-long travel ban on the five is due to expire, raising questions about what happens next.

"Presumably, they will go back to the battlefield but they will not change the dynamics, and they will not change the balance. They are five guys," retired general Stanley McChrystal, a former US commander in Afghanistan, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Brennan said he was personally engaged in the discussions with Afghan and Qatari officials about the five.

They are "looking (at) what are the arrangements that can be put in place, what is going to be the disposition of these individuals, whether they will be sent back to Afghanistan or stay in Doha," he said.

"This is continuing, part of the ongoing process of discussing with our Qatari partners what is in the best interest of national security," he added.

The five include a former Taliban army chief of staff, a former deputy intelligence minister, and a former interior minister, as well as two other senior Taliban members.

Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added his voice to those who questioned the wisdom of ever having released the five Taliban.

"You may not find them in the role they had before, there's no doubt they're a threat," he told CNN television on Sunday.

In the meantime, Doha agrees to extend monitoring of five Taliban detainees freed in exchange for US soldier Bergdahl last year.

Qatar has agreed to extend monitoring and travel restrictions on five Taliban detainees who were freed from the Guantanamo Bay US detention camp last year in exchange for a US soldier, a senior US state department official said.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said on Sunday that the restrictions would continue while Washington was in discussions with Qatar about ensuring the five posed no threat to US security.

Qatar took in the men as part of a deal to free US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured by fighters in Afghanistan. A Qatari agreement on supervision of the ex-detainees had been due to expire on Monday.

"The government of Qatar has agreed to maintain the current restrictive conditions on these individuals as we continue these discussions," the official said. "All five remain in Qatar, where they remain subject to extensive monitoring as well as travel restrictions.”

Under the terms of the exchange, the five detainees were sent to Qatar, where government officials agreed to monitor their activities and prevent them from travelling out of the country for one year.



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