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Washington: Qatar played instrumental role in prisoner swap

The United States announced that the Qatari government played a key role in the release of US Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for 5 Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo.

The spokeswoman of the US State Department Jennifer Psaki said in a briefing Monday that the Qataris represented the US in negotiations with the Afghani Taliban group, confirming that the US government had no direct contact with the Taliban

Asked whether the swap violated the National Defense Authorization Act which obliges the US government to give Congress 30 days' notice prior to the release of anyone from Guantanamo, Psaki said the decision had to be made as quickly as possible to secure the release and return of an American citizen and member of the military detained while in combat. "There were concerns about his health, about his safety, and we took the steps needed to return him home," she added.

The deal, according to Psaki, included a travel ban and regular information sharing on the detainees between the two governments. She stressed that there were sufficient assurances that the conditions of the release would not pose a threat to the security of the US.

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