US shifts strategy on Taliban

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US officials confirmed this week that they are considering a prisoner swap deal with the Taliban as part of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan next year.

Officials say they are considering transferring five Taliban members out of the Guantanamo Bay prison, in a bid to begin negotiations for a peace deal with the Taliban.

The confirmation appears to be a complete turnaround for the administration of US President Barack Obama.

During his campaigning in 2008, Obama prioritised the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban vowing that it was a "war" the US had to win.

But in recent comments, Joe Biden, Obama's vice-president, said the "...Taliban per se, is not [their] enemy".

He cited the cost, complication and lack of popularity of large-scale efforts as reasons to "negotiate and to slowly withdraw".

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports from Washington.

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