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Shift by hard-line Taliban factions may have sealed prisoner exchange

WASHINGTON: The breakthrough leading to Saturday's surprise exchange of a U.S. prisoner of war for five Guantanamo detainees suddenly became possible after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban apparently shifted course and agreed to back it, according to U.S. officials. The United States had tried diplomacy since late 2010 to free Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive in Afghanistan for nearly five years. But the efforts came to little until now. Mistrust between Washington and the insurgents had blocked…