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White House defends release of Guantanamo detainees

Published on Jun 3, 2014 6:31 AM
United States (US) Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the US Army. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US administration on Monday defended the release of five Guantanamo detainees in exchange for a US soldier held by the Taleban, but also ruled out similar swaps for civilian prisoners.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took to the US morning talk shows to downplay the threat posed by the five men - influential former officials of the Taleban regime that was toppled by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan - freed in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl, who was the only US soldier held by the Taleban after being captured in Afghanistan, was freed on Saturday in a dramatic deal brokered by Qatar.

In exchange, the five Taleban prisoners were turned over to the Arab emirate where they will remain for a year, sparking criticism from some Republicans, who claimed they could return to the battlefield and pose a threat to Americans abroad.

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