At least one of five Taliban militants released by the Obama administration in a controversial exchange for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl has “attempted to reestablish contacts” with the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday.
There was no indication the former prisoner, being held in Qatar, made contact with the Taliban. The officials said it is unclear whether this was an actual attempt to rejoin the Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
“We’re closely monitoring the situation and see no potential threat” from the attempted communication, a senior U.S. official said. The official could not say exactly how the former prisoner tried to reach the Taliban.
The five Taliban militants, including two top leaders, were released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in May. As part of the deal that led to Bergdahl’s release, they had to remain in Qatar under a one-year travel ban set to end in June.
The militant who tried to reconnect with the Taliban has also had “several phone calls” with family members in Afghanistan, a senior official told NBC. There was no indication the calls, monitored by security officials, involved any “threatening activity or planning,” the official added.
Nevertheless, the U.S. will try to have restrictions placed on out-of-country calls though the prisoners are allowed to communicate with relatives and other visitors in Qatar.
Bergdahl was reportedly captured by the Haqqani terrorist network in Pakistan after he left a remote outpost in June 2009 and held for five years. Senior defense officials told NBC News on Tuesday that Bergdahl will likely be charged with desertion.