says freed Taliban inmates would target U.S. at 'enormous risk': CNN
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[June 09, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If the five
Taliban inmates released from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for a
captive American soldier rejoined the fight against the United States,
they would do so at great risk, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said
"I'm not telling you they don't have some ability at some point to
go back and get involved," Kerry said in an interview with CNN's
"State of the Union" program. "But they also have the ability to get
killed doing that.
"These guys pick a fight with us, in the future or now or at any
time, at enormous risk."
Concern that the five former inmates might return to fight has been
a factor in controversy in the United States over the deal, under
which Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. troops in
Afghanistan on May 31 after nearly five years in captivity and the
five Taliban members were flown from Guantanamo to Qatar.
Kerry said the United States has proven its ability to target al
Qaeda fighters in western Pakistan and Afghanistan in the war on
terrorism and that nobody should doubt the capacity of the United
States to protect Americans.
U.S. officials have referred to release of the Islamist militants in
exchange for Bergdahl as a transfer. They said the men would be
subject to certain restrictions in Qatar, which brokered the deal.
One official said that would include a minimum one-year ban on
travel outside of Qatar as well as monitoring of their activities.
"They're not the only ones keeping an eye on them," Kerry told CNN.
The five had been held at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba
since 2002. Their release drew criticism from members of the U.S.
Congress, who complained they were not notified in advance by the
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Adding to the controversy, some of Bergdahl's former comrades have
alleged he was captured by the Taliban after deserting his post.
Kerry said there was time to sort through exactly what happened in
Afghanistan but he fiercely defended the rescue of Bergdahl.
"It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously
leave an American behind. No matter what," said Kerry, a Vietnam War
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)
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