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Taleban commander says prisoner swop shows group has legitimacy

Published on Jun 5, 2014 11:29 PM

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The prisoner swop that freed the last United States prisoner of war in Afghanistan shows the Taleban have legitimacy as a movement capable of negotiating successful deals with the United States, a Taleban commander told Reuters on Thursday.

Five Taleban prisoners including senior members of the ousted regime were released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for 28-year-old Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been kidnapped by the Taleban.

"This gives the Islamic Emirates more legitimacy in front of the world. It shows we are able to deal directly with the Americans and also successfully," Mr Maulvi Mubarak, shadow Taleban chief of the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar, said.

Mr Mubarak said the deal would also boost morale among the Taleban's ranks, including the hundreds of men under his command in three neighbouring districts. "This will give us more courage and determination to carry on this holy task," he told Reuters.

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