Taliban Statement Renews Hope For Idaho Soldier's Release

By Jessica Robinson

News that the Taliban is open to a prisoner swap is bringing renewed hope to supporters of a captive soldier from the Northwest. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been a Taliban prisoner for nearly four years now. But there's still no timeline for Bergdahl's return.

A senior Taliban spokesman in Doha, Qatar, told the Associated Press that the group would be willing to turn over Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay. It would be the first step – a confidence-building measure – in wider negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.

A 2010 Taliban video shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity. Credit: IntelCenterBut the details of such an exchange could be complicated. Dan Markey studies U.S. foreign policy in South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dan Markey: “This has been tied up with the politics of Guantanamo here, as well as on the specifics of what would happen to the five Taliban commanders – you know, what would exactly happen to them once they left.”

Markey says a likely condition would be the release of the Guantanamo prisoners into third-party supervision by the Qatari government.

Bergdahl's parents said through a military spokesman in Idaho that they're encouraged by the latest developments.

Twenty-seven-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is the only known U.S. POW from the war in Afghanistan.

A 2010 Taliban video shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity. Credit: IntelCenter

On the Web:

AP: Taliban Offer To Free US Soldier
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-exclusive-taliban-offer-free-us-soldier

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