A one-year travel ban is expiring for five senior Taliban leaders who were held in US detention at Guantanamo Bay until they were released last year in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, raising the possibility that the five can move freely around the world as early as Monday. Under terms of the exchange in May 2014, the five detainees were sent to Qatar; officials there agreed to monitor their activities and prevent them from traveling out of the country. In return, Bergdahl was released to the US military after being held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years after he walked away from his Army post in Afghanistan. US officials have discussed with the Qataris the possibility of extending the travel ban after it expires Monday. But so far, the White House has not announced any new agreement with Qatar.
At least one of the five allegedly contacted militants during the past year while in Qatar and was then put under enhanced surveillance. John McCain said last week: "I know that at least one has had communication with the Taliban." One or more of the detainees had some members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani group travel to Qatar to meet earlier in the year, per Sen. Lindsey Graham. Four of the five former detainees remain on the United Nations' blacklist, which freezes their assets and has them under a separate travel ban. But the UN itself has acknowledged its travel ban has been violated and that "some listed individuals have become increasingly adept at circumventing the sanctions measures, the travel ban in particular." Members of Congress have repeatedly asked the Obama administration to try to persuade Qatar to extend the monitoring. (Read more Bowe Bergdahl stories.)