August 10, 2009 in Nation/World

Taliban address soldier’s status

Captor says council waiting for U.S. response to demands
Associated Press

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A militant commander who is holding a U.S. soldier abducted in Afghanistan said Sunday that Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s council is waiting for a response to its demands before deciding the American’s fate.

It was the first news of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, made public since a Taliban video was released July 18.

Maulvi Sangin, an insurgent commander for eastern Afghanistan, said the Taliban’s governing body was awaiting a response to demands it made to the U.S. for his return.

“The American’s fate is in the hand of (leadership), which is waiting until a response from the Americans to its demands,” Sangin said.

Sangin would not elaborate on the demands or say if any deadline had been given. A spokesman for Sangin had previously said the soldier would be killed unless the U.S. stops airstrikes in two areas of Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment when he disappeared June 30.

Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, a U.S. military spokeswoman in Kabul, would not comment on Bergdahl’s case. “We do not want to do anything that compromises his safety or efforts to recover him,” she said.

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