2014-06-05T011722Z_1_LYNXMPEA5401L_RTROPTP_2_USA-AFGHANISTAN-BERGDAHL

Inside the White House's decision to free Bergdahl

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl talks to a Taliban militant as he waits in a pick-up truck before his release at the Afghan borderBy Steve Holland and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For President Barack Obama, it seemed like the right thing to do, according to officials in his administration: Release five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison in return for Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American prisoner of war in Afghanistan. As a political firestorm engulfs the White House over that deal, Reuters interviews with current and former Obama administration officials involved in the negotiations, along with U.S. lawmakers, reveal how a close-knit circle in the Obama administration pursued the plan despite intense discord in the past over similar proposals. The White House was ultimately persuaded to go ahead, in part, after Qatar agreed to take the Taliban detainees and said it would allow the United States to track the five men in the Gulf emirate.

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