Qatar 'very assiduous' in monitoring prisoners in Bergdahl swap: U.S. official

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 18, 2014 3:54 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ambassador James Dobbins, the U.S. State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said on Wednesday that Qatar's government had been closely keeping track of five Taliban prisoners exchanged for U.S. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held captive in Afghanistan.

"Our experience to date - and obviously it's only been a few weeks - has been that the Qataris are very assiduous in meeting all of those obligations," Dobbins said during a U.S. Senate hearing.

The Obama administration's decision to exchange Bergdahl for five prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay military prison caused a political firestorm, with Republican lawmakers and many of Obama's fellow Democrats angry the White House did not inform Congress.

The five detainees are being held in Qatar for a year. Republican lawmakers who oppose closing the Guantanamo prison have been fiercely questioning whether the Gulf Arab state will keep the prisoners secure.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)