KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - The prisoner swap that freed the last US prisoner of war in Afghanistan shows the Taliban have legitimacy as a movement capable of negotiating successful deals with the United States, a Taliban commander told Reuters on Thursday.
Five Taliban prisoners including senior members of the ousted regime were released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for 28-year-old Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban.
"This gives the Islamic Emirates more legitimacy in front of the world. It shows we are able to deal directly with the Americans and also successfully," Maulvi Mubarak, shadow Taliban chief of the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar, said.
The Taliban government was overthrown by a US-led coalition in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks but the insurgency still has its own shadow governors across the country.