The US and Qatar are negotiating over security arrangements for five Taliban commanders who were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for U.S. staff-sergeant Bowe Berghdal last May. The prisoner exchange, in which the detainees were handed over to Qatar, caused an national outcry.
Under the current arrangements the ‘Taliban Five’ are forbidden from leaving Qatar and are monitored. That agreement expires at the end of May. If it is not renewed, the men will have no restrictions on them once it expires.
The outcome of the talks is unknown. Qatari officials are said to be open to renewing aspects of the deal or perhaps transferring the men to another country.
However, Qatar has just agreed to allow the Taliban to open a political office in the capital Doha.
On Monday a statement was released by 40 delegates from the Afghan government, the U.N. and the Taliban, who had convened in Doha under the auspices of Qatar for a ‘non-official meeting’ to discuss negotiations.
The political office is officially to be used as a base from which to negotiate.
Despite the statement, on the same day 18 police officers were killed by Taliban fighters.