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US offers `sugarcoated` Taliban deal to revive Afg

Last Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 00:25

Washington: In a move to revive Afghan peace talks, the United States has sugarcoated a proposed deal under which it would transfer Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for a US soldier, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held by Taliban allies in Pakistan.

US officials are hoping the prisoner exchange would open the door to peace talks between militants and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, reports The Dawn.

Bergdahl, 26, disappeared from his base in southern Afghanistan in June 2009 and is being held by Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan.

Previously, US officials had proposed dividing the Taliban prisoners into two groups, and requiring Bergdahl`s release as a good-faith gesture to come before the second group of prisoners would be moved out of Guantanamo.

Qatar, which is hosting a number of Taliban officials, has played a key role in almost two years of initial, secret discussions between US officials and representatives of the shadowy militant group, which remains a formidable enemy in Afghanistan even as U.S. and NATO troops begin to withdraw, the paper said.

US officials are now cautiously seeking to prepare the ground for resumption in talks.


First Published: Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 00:25

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