US President Barack Obama has been defending his decision to negotiate, albeit indirectly, with the Taliban. Obama has traded five Taliban leaders being held in Guantanamo Bay for the only American Prisoner of War in Afghanistan.

The deal for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was mediated by Qatar.

Obama personally thanked the Emir of Qatar for what he called his "leadership", and added: "We're committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo (Guantanamo). But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our Prisoners of War home. That's who we are as Americans."

But the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Congressman Mike Rogers said: "This fundamental shift in US policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take US hostages. I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come."

Sergeant Bergdahl was captured in Paktika province in Afghanistan on June the 30th 2009. He was the only known missing American soldier in the Afghan war.

But what are the implications of negotiating with armed groups? And what sort of precedent does it set?

Presenter: Mike Hanna


David Roberts - lecturer in defence studies at King’s College London, based in Qatar, and author of the book: 'Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City State'

Daoud Sultanzoy - a former Afghan member of parliament, and presidential candidate]

Mark Kimmitt - a former US state department official and retired Brigadier General