KABUL (Pajhwok): Welcoming the release of five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay prison, Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar on Tuesday said the former detainees should have been handed over to the Afghan government.
The high-level members of the Taliban were released from the US prison in Cuba and sent to Qatar, where they will have to stay for a year before going back to Afghanistan.
They include former ministers in the Taliban government and commanders. The Afghan government has called for lifting travel restrictions on the five men in Qatar.
Muslimyar told today’s session: “Everyone who is held captive by infidels and is released, it makes me happy and if they are Afghans, it makes me happier.”
However, he said had the releases come through the Afghan government, it would have been very good and would have been welcomed by both houses of the parliament.
Muslimyar said the five Taliban leaders were given in custody of the Qatari government because most Afghan government officials were busy campaigning for the presidential runoff elections and the government had not been able to secure the releases itself.
Upper house member from southern Ghazni province Dad Mohammad Andar said the prisoner swap deal should have done through the Afghan government. He said sidelining the Afghan government in the deal showed the US was playing a new game.
Reacting to the prisoner swap, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that US President Barack Obama’s remarks showed the five Taliban leaders would remain in custody in Qatar and would not enjoy complete freedom.
The ministry spokesman, Shakib Mustaghni said if the prisoners had been sent to Qatar with certain restrictions then the Afghan government demanded their immediate freedom from those curbs