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Taliban says suspend prisoner-swap talks due to Afghan "complexity"

Source: Reuters - Sun, 23 Feb 2014 05:52 GMT
Author: Reuters
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KABUL, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The Taliban have suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

"Therefore, the prisoner exchange process has been delayed until further notice," Mujahid said. He provided no further detail on why that decision had been made.

In an effort to foster peace talks to end the Afghan war, U.S. officials recently took steps they hoped might revive U.S. discussions with Taliban representatives about the proposed swap of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the return of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who went missing in Afghanistan in 2009 and is believed to be held by Taliban-linked militants in northwest Pakistan. (Reporting By Hamid Shalizi and Mirwais Harooni; Writing by Missy Ryan; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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