P.O.W. Is Focus of Talks on Taliban Prisoner Swap
The parents of the only American soldier held as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan have broken a yearlong silence about the status of their son, abruptly making public that he is a focus of secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban over a proposed prisoner swap.
The negotiations, currently stalled, would have traded five Taliban prisoners held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of the Army, who is believed to be held by the militant Haqqani network in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier, on the Afghan border. Sergeant Bergdahl was captured in Paktika Province in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. His family has not heard from him in a year, although the Pentagon believes he is alive and well.
Sergeant Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, said in interviews near the family’s home here on Tuesday and Wednesday that he was speaking out in frustration over the lack of progress in the negotiations, which he believes are moribund because the Obama administration is under pressure from Republicans in Congress in an election year not to negotiate with terrorists.
“We don’t have faith in the U.S. government being able to reconcile this,” Mr. Bergdahl said.