Photo Credit: Fox News Qatar has agreed to temporarily extend travel bans on five senior Taliban leaders released last year from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a State Department official confirmed to Fox News Sunday.
The official said the ban would remain in place until diplomatic talks for a longer-term solution are completed. The restrictions had been due to expire on Monday under a May 2014 exchange for Bergdahl. U.S. officials said Friday the Obama administration was closing in on an agreement with Qatar to extend the restrictions for six months that could be announced this weekend. It was not immediately clear why that agreement had not been finalized.
The U.S. remains in “close contact” with Qatari authorities “to make sure these individuals do not pose a threat to the United States.” As a result of the talks to date, Qatar “has agreed to maintain the current restrictive conditions on these individuals as we continue these discussions,” the official said.
The official said the former detainees are all currently in Qatar and remain subject to the travel ban and extensive monitoring. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly speak to the matter.
Under the terms of the exchange, the five detainees were sent to Qatar, where government officials agreed to monitor their activities and prevent them from traveling out of the country for one year. In return, Bergdahl, who had been held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years after walking away from his Army post in Afghanistan, was released to the U.S. military. He recently was charged with desertion. (Read more from “NOT GOING ANYWHERE: Qatar Extends Travel Ban On Ex-Gitmo Inmates” HERE)