Five of the top Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo Bay have agreed in principle to move to Qatar, Afghan officials say. The Afghan government supports the move, but the US has not yet decided either way.
Five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay have agreed to be transferred to the Gulf state of Qatar, and Kabul has dropped its opposition to the deal, an Afghan government official said late Saturday.
"A delegation (from the) national security council has met with the five prisoners in Guantanamo," spokesman Aimal Faizi told the news agency AFP.
The five inmates told the delegates they were willing to be moved to the Persian Gulf if they could be reunited with their families, Faizi said. The move by the Afghan government comes as President Hamid Karzai's administration seeks to progress with peace talks with the Taliban.
Down to the US
The United States is currently considering the move, though there is some opposition to the transfer in Congress. American authorities did not want the prisoners returned to Afghanistan for fear that they would be set free, and all five detainees are considered significant security risks.
One of the men, Mullah Norullah Nori has been described by the US military as one of the most significant former Taliban officials held in Guantanamo, and is suspected of orchestrating mass killings of Shiite Muslims in the north of Afghanistan.
Development of the peace process with the Taliban has been a topic of increased focus given the US government's intention to bring home its fighting troops by the end of 2014.
sjt/pfd (AP, AFP)