WASHINGTON, June 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview aired on Sunday, defended the release of five Taliban detainees in exchange for the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan.
"It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what," Kerry told CNN's State of the Union program in his first public comment on the trade.
Bowe Bergdahl, who had been in Afghanistan in Taliban hands for almost five years, was released on May 31 near the Afghanistan- Pakistan border in an exchange for the five Taliban detainees held at the American prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Addressing the concern that the five prisoners would pose threat to the United States again, Kerry said, "I'm not telling you that they don't have some ability at some point to go back and get involved. But they also have an ability to get killed doing that."
"I don't think anybody should doubt the capacity of the United States of America to protect Americans," Kerry told CNN in France.
He said the former detainees would be monitored closely, and by more people than officials in Qatar, where they were flown after being released.
But Kerry declined to go into detail about the claims that Bergdahl went AWOL.
"There's plenty of time or people to sort through what happened, what didn't happen," he said.
The Obama administration is getting heat from all sides after President Barack Obama announced the swap a week ago. Some legislators have accused the administration of violating the law by failing to alert Congress of the release of prisoners from Guantanamo at least 30 days in advance.
Administration officials have given several reasons for the lack of advance notification, including the need to move quickly due to Bergdahl's poor health and the overall threat to his safety.
News Analysis: U.S. President in hot water over Taliban POW exchange
WASHINGTON, June 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is getting heat from all sides for exchanging five terrorists for an American soldier over the weekend, spurring outrage from Republicans and some members of his own party alike.
In a move that has stirred controversy on both sides of the political isle, Obama traded five terrorists detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been in Afghanistan in Taliban hands for five years. Full story