Moscow, April 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US was ready to release five Taliban leaders from the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay under certain conditions, an Afghan official has said.
Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, head of the foreign relations department of the High Peace Council, told Afghan news agency Pajhwok that the US was ready to transfer the five Taliban leaders to Qatar to meet their families there.
The Taliban had earlier expressed their wish to open a political bureau in Qatar for peace talks with Washington, but stalled all negotiations after a US soldier gunned down civilians in Kandahar province in March.
"The US wants an assurance from the Qatari government that the men will not return to militancy. They will live with their families in Qatar and not exit that country," said Qasimyar.
However, according to High Peace Council, Qatar has not yet commented on the deal.
The Guantanamo Bay camp is located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. Currently, more than 170 prisoners remain in the centre since it was made into a permanent US penitentiary in 2001. Most of them are terror suspects.
In 2008, US President Barack Obama promised to close the prison by 2010. But in March 2011, the US resumed military trials for terror suspects in Guantanamo. Moreover, Obama drafted a set procedure that allows detainment of prisoners in Guantanamo if they are a serious threat to the US.