The Taliban has demanded in negotiations with the US that 20 Afghans held in Guantanamo Bay be released in Qatar, an Afghan government spokesman has said.
The move, which a Taliban spokesman declined to comment on “due to the sensitivity of the issue,” is strongly opposed by President Hamid Karzai’s government, which wants the prisoners sent directly to Afghanistan.
“We agreed on the opening of an office for the Taliban in Qatar, but never on the transfer of the prisoners to that country,” (presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said)…
Afghan analyst and former Taliban official Waheed Mujhda said that if released Taliban prisoners were repatriated to Kabul they risked being detained by the government, which is why the movement was pressing for them to be sent to Qatar.
“The Qatari government has some guarantees to ensure these Taliban figures will not use Qatar soil to organise and conduct attacks against anyone,” he said, noting there were reports that the men’s families had been transferred to Qatar.