“First has to be the release of detainees,” Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail told the AP when asked about Bergdahl. “Yes. It would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward.”
There were previously secret discussions between the U.S. and Taliban over exchanging Bergdahl for the Taliban detainees at Guantánamo, with plans to send the detainees to Qatar.
A prisoner exchange would have plenty of critics in Congress, as Republicans have warned against releasing any Taliban prisoners since the talks were announced Tuesday.
The potential peace talks between the Taliban, U.S. and Afghan government got off to a rocky start, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai pulled out on Wednesday after the Taliban flew a flag at the Doha office that said “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the name of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan.
An Afghan government spokesman said that Karzai was willing to re-join the talks so long as the Taliban’s flag and nameplate were removed from the Doha office and the U.S. issued a former letter supporting the Afghan government, the AP reported.