Report: Bergdahl prisoner swap back on the table

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by KTVB.COM

KREM.com

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 18 at 6:46 PM

BOISE -- The Obama administration plans to resume talks with the Taliban to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey. That's according to a Washington Post article published this week.

WATCH: U.S. obtains 'proof of life' video of POW Bowe Bergdahl

The article outlines a possible swap where five Taliban prisoners currently being held in Guantanamo Bay would be traded for Bowe Bergdahl's release.

According to the article, the deal has been on the table for two years, but now, the United States would be willing to simultaneously release the Taliban prisoners to protective custody in Qatar. Previously, the plan was to release the prisoners in groups of ones or twos.

Bergdahl's family released a statement Tuesday upon learning of the potential deal:

“Today’s news indicates there are renewed efforts to use diplomacy to recover our family’s son, grandson and brother, Bowe Bergdahl.  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.”

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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been a prisoner of war since 2009, when he was reportedly captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials believe he is being held in Pakistan by the Haqqani network, an allied insurgent group.

Last month, the Pentagon announced it had received a new proof of life video of Bergdahl.

The Washington Post article says Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Bergdahl has "been gone too long." He added that U.S. officials are eager to get the prisoner of war home.

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Officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to talk about parts of this renewed strategy to swap prisoners with the Taliban for Bergdahl's release.

According to the Washington Post article, A U.S. official says there is no "actionable" intelligence on Sgt. Bergdahl's exact location. Because of that, a U.S. military rescue mission has been ruled out.

Two people familiar with the situation stress that it was the Taliban that broke off negotiations nearly two years ago. They say the U.S. door to talks has been open since.

The article says a formal offer has not been made to the Taliban and no State Department officials plan to travel to the region right now.

 

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