Family of captive U.S. soldier Bergdahl welcomes Taliban offer

Jun 20, 2013

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.

But the details of such an exchange could be complicated, says Dan Markey, who studies U.S. foreign policy in South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“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 said. 

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.