Wed February 19, 2014
Proposed Prisoner Swap Offers Hope To Idaho Family Of POW
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:02 am
The Idaho family of captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl is welcoming an effort to get their son home through a prisoner swap.
Bergdahl has been a captive of the Taliban on the border lands of Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly five years. Past attempts at negotiations have stalled out.
The idea of a prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been talked about for years – most recently, as a way to open broader peace talks with the Taliban. But such an endeavor required a delicate balance with the Afghan government and talks never got off the ground.
Now, the Washington Post reports, U.S. negotiators are floating the idea of just a swap: Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban operatives at Guantanamo Bay.
Bergdahl's family in Hailey, Idaho, released a statement through the Idaho National Guard, praising the effort. "We thank all involved," the family says, " and hope everyone takes this opportunity seriously."
"The Bergdahls today are cautiously optimistic that this is the effort that's going to bring their son home safely," says Colonel Tim Marsano, who has been the Bergdahls' media liaison since Bowe was captured in 2009. "You know, it's been an agonizing four and half years for this family."
According to the Washington Post story, the Taliban prisoners would be released into the custody of the Qatari government to ensure they didn't return to the battlefield.
Bowe Bergdahl is the only U.S. prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict.
The full statement from the Bergdahl family says:
“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.”