US May Swap Gitmo Inmates for Taliban Peace Deal

Negotiations near breakthrough, US officials say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2011 4:08 AM CST
Updated Dec 19, 2011 6:20 AM CST
Taliban militants arrested by the Afghan Border Police stand over their guns while they are presented to the media at the Afghan Border Police headquarters in Jalalabad.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

(Newser) – After many months of secretive negotiations, peace talks between the US and the Taliban are at a turning point, reports Reuters, which cites senior US officials speaking under condition of anonymity. The US is considering transferring Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to Afghan custody in return for concessions from the Taliban, possibly including a denunciation of terrorism and a willingness to enter talks with Hamid Karzai's government, the officials say.

It's not clear how many of the 20 or so Afghans at Guantanamo would be transferred, or what assurances the US would seek to ensure they remained in custody in Afghanistan. The peace talks have faced many setbacks—including a Taliban envoy who turned out to be an imposter—but some US officials still believe a negotiated settlement is the best way to end the war. "The challenges are enormous," one official says. "But if you're where we are, you can't not try. You have to find out what's out there."

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