Who are the Taliban prisoners freed in the Bergdahl deal?

One of the five Taliban leaders freed
One of the five Taliban leaders freed

(CNN) — The Taliban agreed to release American Army Sergeant Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban leaders the U.S. was holding at Guantanamo Bay.

A Taliban spokesman tweeted photos he says show the five arriving in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

That country agreed to take them as part of the deal to free Bergdahl.

They are to spend a least a year there, under Qatari restrictions.

They had all been held by the U.S. for more than a decade.

All were captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan during the U.S. invasion that ended Taliban rule.

Khair Ulla said Wali Khairkan is possibly the most important – a former interior minister alleged to be directly associated with Osama bin Laden.

Mullah Mahmoud Fazil was the Afghan Army’s chief of staff – the U.N. accused him of being involved in the massacre of thousands of Shiites during the Taliban’s rule.

#3 is Mullah Nasrallah Nari – he was governor of two Afghan provinces but always claimed he was not a senior Taliban official.

U.S. intelligence alleged that Abdul Haq Wasir had been the #2 in the Taliban’s intelligence apparatus with links to al Qaeda. He always denied that.

And finally there’s Mohammed Nabu Omari.

According to his Guantanamo reviews, he also had links to al Qaeda. But he claimed he’d actually helped the U.S. try to track down the Taliban’s shadowy leader Mullah Omar.

Two years ago then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told congress all five had been assessed as too dangerous to release and too difficult to put on trial.

“I don’t think anyone harbors any illusions about these five Taliban members and what they might do if they were transferred,” Clapper said.

But even then the Obama administration was considering a halfway house for the five as part of a deal to bring the Taliban to peace talks.

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