Idaho Family 'Cautiously Optimistic' Prisoner Swap Will Bring POW Home

By Jessica Robinson

The Idaho family of captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl is welcoming an effort to get their son home through a prisoner swap. Bergdahl has been a captive of the Taliban on the border lands of Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly five years. Past attempts at negotiations have stalled out.

The idea of a prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been talked about for years – most recently as a way to open broader peace talks with the Taliban. But such an endeavor required a delicate balance with the Afghan government and talks never got off the ground.

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho. Credit: U.S. ArmyNow, the Washington Post reports, U.S. negotiators are floating the idea of just a swap: Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban operatives at Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl's family in Hailey, Idaho, released a statement through the Idaho National Guard, praising the effort. “We thank all involved,” they say, and “hope everyone takes this opportunity seriously.” Colonel Tim Marsano has been the Bergdahls' media liaison since Bowe was captured in 2009.

Tim Marsano: “The Bergdahls today are cautiously optimistic that this is the effort that's going to bring their son home safely. You know, it's been an agonizing four and half years for this family.”

According to the Washington Post story, the Taliban prisoners would be released into the custody of the Qatari government to ensure they didn't return to the battlefield.

Bowe Bergdahl is the only U.S. prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict.


Photo: Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho. Credit: U.S. Army


Full statement from the Bergdahl family:

“We welcome this development and we applaud the unity of purpose and resolve at the White House and the other U.S. Government agencies involved. We thank all involved for this renewed effort and we hope everyone takes this opportunity seriously. We are cautiously optimistic these discussions will lead to the safe return of our son after more than four and a half years in captivity.”

Washington Post story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-seeks-prisoner-swap-with-taliban-to-free-army-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/2014/02/17/f142ed50-9590-11e3-afce-3e7c922ef31e_story.html

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