Lawmakers cool on Taliban prisoner swap

Senators from both parties said they were either opposed to a prisoner exchange outright, or that it should only be done as part of the final negotiations.

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“I personally don’t think that we negotiate under those lines,” said Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezPuerto Rico task force asks for help in charting island's economic course Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections MORE (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “For me, it wouldn’t be acceptable.”

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinSenate continues to disrespect Constitution, Obama and Supreme Court by not voting on Garland As other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? MORE (D-Mich.) said he was opposed to any swaps prior to the talks beginning.

“They have to be a part of the negotiations,” Levin said.

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGeneral calls McCain's Bergdahl comments 'inappropriate' Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Five takeaways from Clinton, Trump finance reports MORE (R-Ariz.), who was Levin’s top Republican counterpart on the committee until this year, said he would only agree with an exchange as part of a final cease-fire agreement.

“That’s done at the completion of an agreement,” McCain said. “I’m opposed now.”

Other Republicans have raised concerns with holding any negotiations with the Taliban while the U.S. is still fighting them.

Sen. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (Ga.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he has always been opposed to making a deal on a prisoner exchange. “That’s not the way we deal with terrorists,” he said Thursday.

The negotiations with the Taliban got off to a troubling start this week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai pulled out of the talks when the Taliban called themselves the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” at their new Doha office, the name of the previous Taliban government in Afghanistan.