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5 Senior Taliban Members Join Group’s Political Office in Qatar

Senior Taliban members once held at Guantanamo Bay have joined the group’s political office in Qatar.

Senior Taliban members once held at Guantanamo Bay have joined the group’s political office in Qatar.
The measure is a potential step forward in peace talks under way between Washington and the insurgency in Afghanistan.
A US State Department official said Tuesday that “it is up to the Taliban to choose their representatives” in peace talks, but warned the U.S. won’t allow anyone to use their position as a negotiator to fuel the insurgency in Afghanistan. According to WSJ.
“It is our expectation, however, that these leaders will work toward a peaceful solution to end the war,” the official said.
The men have been kept under guard in a compound in the Qatari capital, Doha, at the behest of the U.S. since their release from Guantanamo in 2014. The source added.
“By having more prominent people in the political office, we’re in a better position in terms of negotiation and internal debate,” a Taliban official in Doha said.

The Taliban Five were released from Guantanamo by the Obama administration in exchange for an American soldier held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bowe Bergdahl.
Separately, a former deputy leader of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, was freed from Pakistani custody last week in another apparent concession to the group.

Mr. Baradar’s release, along with the Taliban Five’s entry into the Doha office, “indicates that the Taliban are forming their political structure ahead of further talks and possible future negotiations,” said Nadir Naim, deputy chairman of the High Peace Council.
According to the report, the other senior ex-Guantanamo detainees joining the Doha office include Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former Taliban interior minister; Noorullah Noori, a former governor of Afghanistan’s northern provinces; and Abdul Haq Wasiq, an ex-deputy head of the Taliban’s intelligence service.

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