The article reports:
But IBD has uncovered a series of credible reports from 2012 — as well as a transcript of a candid press conference by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai — that show the White House originally wanted to give up the Taliban commanders under just one condition: that the Taliban open a political office in Qatar “to conduct peace negotiations.” It was Qatar that ended up taking the prisoners.
It seems that successful negotiations are not a strong point of the current White House.
This is the timeline as listed in the article:
January 2009: Obama signs executive order calling for Gitmo to be shuttered within a year, while his national security team considers if the five Taliban leaders are safe for release.
2011: White House and State Department officials open secret talks with the Taliban in Germany and the Persian Gulf to discuss their release from Gitmo as part of “peace talks.”
Jan. 3, 2012: The Taliban announce they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar to conduct peace negotiations in exchange for the release of the Taliban commanders. (“The releases would be to reciprocate for Tuesday’s announcement,” according to “The Guardian.”)
April 2012: Working with the White House, Karzai sends delegation of Afghan government officials to Gitmo to interview the Taliban prisoners and secure their oath to cut ties with al-Qaida.
(“On the issue of the release of the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, we are fully in support of that,” Karzai says during a July 9, 2012, visit to Japan. “If they wish to go to Qatar, we want them rejoined with their families.”)
Karzai signed on to the deal because he thought it would buy peace and goodwill with the Taliban, which threatened to retake Afghanistan.
You would think by now we would have learned that any peace and goodwill from the Taliban is highly unlikely. Now that the five prisoners formerly classified as “indefinite detainees” have been released, the defense lawyers for the remaining prisoners can easily argue that their clients are less dangerous.
The goal was always to close the prison at Guantanamo–not to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to America.