The President Barack Obama Administration has taken “operational steps” to move five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay as a piece of a confidence-building measure to help further peace talks between the U.S. and the Afghan arm of the organization, a senior Congressional official told Fox News.
According to the news outlet, the development came in advance of a hearing that features senior intelligence officials testifying about the current national security threats. The five detainees that may be chosen were said to be “hand-picked” by the Taliban in preparation for the talks.
Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, noted that the Administration’s efforts to talk with the Afghan Taliban reeked of “desperation.”
“Candidly, I don’t like the direction they are going in (with) reconciliation,” Rogers said. “I base it on the things that I know about how the Taliban works. The tribal relations in the region, and I’ve been on the committee for six years looking at this stuff … it seems like a bit of desperation to try to catch up to their policy of ‘we’re getting out.'”
Reuters reported that one Republican lawmaker said public opposition would escalate sharply if and when the White House notified Congress that it intends to transfer the high-ranking members of the Taliban.