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Taliban prisoner swap in exchange forAmerican talks draws criticism



by Joseph Earnest  June 2, 2014   


Newscast Media WASHINGTONThe release of five Taliban figures in exchange for a captured US soldier is drawing criticism in Washington. Afghanistan expert Anand Gopal, a fellow at the New American Foundation in Washington DC, told Deutsche Welle in an interview the move increases the chances for successful peace talks.


"This is the only prisoner of war in the entire 13-year conflict in Afghanistan, and it is one of the last remaining issues to be resolved in terms of the military, because the US military has a motto of not leaving people behind," Gopal said.

More generally, though, Gopal sees this as a possibility of being a confidence-building measure in terms of possible peace talks with the Taliban. What they've been asking for from day one is a prisoner exchangetrading Guantanamo prisoners for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

"The story of the five is very interesting, because all of them had tried to surrender and switch sides in 2001 and 2002. So, many of them could have actually been members of the Afghan government if they hadn't been captured.

"For example, one of the five is somebody from the same tribe as Hamid Karzai. And he tried to join the Afghan government, and Pakistan arrested him and gave him to the United States and sent him to Guantanamo. Another one was somebody who was actually a member of the Afghan government. He was a former Taliban member who joined Hamid Karzai's government, but due to false intelligence from a warlord, he was arrested and sent to Guantanamo," Gopal added.

The Taliban has not been labeled a terrorist group by the United States. There are individual members of the Taliban who are on the United Nations blacklist. But as a group, the Taliban is not considered terroristic.  Add Comments>>


















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