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Ex-Guantanamo Taliban appointed in Doha political office

Five members of the Taliban group who had been held by the US in the Guantanamo jail are now in the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, Taliban confirmed.

Mullah Mohammad Fazel Akhond, Mullah Noorullah Noori, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq and Maulavi Mohammad Nabi Omari were exchanged with the US army serviceman Bowe Bergdhal who was in Taliban’s captive. The swap took place in 2015, according to Zabihullah Mujahid who told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

“These people are now in the Qatar political office along with our other colleagues talking over the peace talks,” Mujahid was quoted as saying by the Associate Press.

Bergdhal was taken captive when he deserted his post in June 2009.

These people previously were in the Guantanamo prison, the Associated Press has quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying.

Meanwhile, the High Peace Council reiterates it would welcome every move leading towards peace in the war-torn country.

“With no doubt, the peace process is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, while the regional and world states technically cooperate. We welcome any move that helps to accelerate the peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban and consider it as for Afghan benefit,” said Sayed Ehsan Taheri, spokesman of the peace council.

Mullah Mohammad Fazel Akhond, Mullah Noorullah Noori, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq and Maulavi Mohammad Nabi Omari are the people sent to the Taliban’s office in Doha, according to reports.

These people were returned to Taliban in 2015 as a prisoner swap with an American soldier kept by Taliban militants, according to the Associated Press.

This comes as the US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmai Khalilzad met with the representatives of Taliban earlier this month in Doha. The Afghan-born American diplomat also met officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Pakistan. The latter freed Taliban’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the wake of Khalilzad’s meeting. Baradar was held in Pakistani prison for eight years.

Members of parliament are optimistic to the Taliban members’ arrival in Qatar, saying some of the group’s preconditions were accepted by the government.

“Some of Taliban’s conditions seem to have been accepted, they are in talks with the United States. Pressures on Pakistan have caused Taliban to come to the table talk and we are hopeful they join the talks,” said lawmaker Dawod Kalakani.

Meanwhile, a meeting is organized to be held in Moscow in which representatives from Afghanistan, Taliban, the US and regional countries are expected to discuss Afghan peace.

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