People of Northwest Public Radio
Thu June 20, 2013
Taliban Statement Renews Hope For Idaho Soldier's Release
Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:15 pm
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, and there's still no timeline for his 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.
But the details of such an exchange could be complicated.
"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,” says Dan Markey, who studies U.S. foreign policy in South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Markey says a likely condition would be the release of the Guantanamo prisoners into third-party supervision by the Qatari government.
Through a military spokesman in Idaho, Bergdahl's parents said 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.
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