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POLITICS: PennAve

Chuck Hagel sees possible 'new opening' for negotiations with Taliban

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Afghanistan,PennAve,Guantanamo Bay,Chuck Hagel,Taliban,Bowe Bergdahl

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday framed the trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a possible “new opening” in broken-down talks between the U.S. and the Taliban.

“Well, it could, it might, and we hope it will present an opening,” Hagel said on NBC's “Meet the Press” of renewed talks with the Taliban.

“As you know, we had engaged with the Taliban up until 2012,” he added. “They broke off those negotiations. We've had no formal relationship since then. So maybe this will be a new opening that can produce an agreement.”

Republicans counter, though, that President Obama should not have agreed to transfer five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for Bergdahl's release -- and they say the president was required by law to notify lawmakers of such transfers.

Hagel on Sunday said the administration did not have time to detail their plan to Congress 30 days in advance.

“This was essentially, in our opinion, to save the life of Sgt. Bergdahl,” Hagel said on the NBC program.

“I'll stand by that decision,” he added. “I signed off on the decision. The president made the ultimate decision. We did spend time looking at this.”

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