New Hope For U.S. Soldier Held By Taliban
January 5, 2012 by staff
New Hope For U.S. Soldier Held By Taliban, The family of the only U.S. soldier held by the Taliban expressed the hope he would be released “as soon as possible” following a possible deal to allow insurgents to open an office in Qatar.
The office plan is designed to enable the holding of peace talks with the United States.
Bowe Bergdahl, a 25-year-old Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho, was taken prisoner June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.
His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, released a statement Wednesday through the Idaho National Guard expressing hope that their son would be returned home soon.
“Our only son, Bowe Bergdahl, has been held captive for two and a half years. We hope he will be released as soon as possible. We know that serious discussions among diplomats are the most likely way to make this happen, and for Bowe to be returned safely to us, his family,” it added.
The Taliban announced Tuesday that they had reached a preliminary understanding to open the representative office in Qatar, marking an unprecedented step toward peace negotiations.
In May 2011, Robert Bergdahl posted an online appeal asking the government of Pakistan and its armed forces to help free his son.
In July, the NATO security force in Afghanistan said U.S. and NATO forces had made bringing Bergdahl home a top priority.
On Tuesday, the Afghan Taliban also asked for the release of prisoners held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Qatar office is seen by Western and Afghan officials as a crucial step to moving forward with secretive attempts to reach a negotiated end to a decade of war.
The Taliban statement pointedly made no mention of the Kabul government, set up after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001 ousted the Taliban from power.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday that Afghanistan agreed with U.S. efforts to talk with the Taliban, and the plan to open an office in Qatar, because they could prevent further conflict and the deaths of innocent civilians.
The branch of the Taliban believed to be holding Bergdahl operates on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and may be based in tribal lands in Pakistan, according to reports by the U.S. Department of Defense.
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