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Homeland Security

U.S. may Release 5 Taliban Leaders from Guantanamo

RIA Novosti

10:11 01/04/2012

MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. is ready to release five Taliban leaders from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay under certain conditions, head of the foreign relations department of the High Peace Council Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said in his interview to Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency Pajhwok.

According to Qasimyar, the U.S. is ready to transfer five Taliban leaders to Qatar to meet their families there.

The Taliban earlier expressed the wish to open a political bureau in Qatar for peace talks with Washington, but stalled all negotiations after the tragedy of March 11, when the U.S. military shot dead 17 civilians in Kandahar province. Following the Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami or Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar suspended formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government.

“The U.S. wants assurance from the Qatari government that the men will not return to militancy. They will live with their families in Qatar and not exit that country,” said Qasimyar.

However, according to High Peace Council, Qatari government has not yet commented on the deal.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. More than 170 prisoners currently remain in Guantanamo, which was made into a permanent U.S. penitentiary in 2001. Most of them are terrorism suspects.

In 2008, Obama in his presidential campaign promised to close the prison by 2010. In January 2009, Obama gave instructions to shut the network of secret prisons and close the Guantanamo detention camp within a year.

But in March 2011, Obama resumed military trials for terror suspects who remain in Guantanamo. Moreover, Obama drafted a set procedure that allows the detainment of the prisoners in Guantanamo if they are a serious threat to U.S. security.

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