ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Washington has held indirect talks with the Taliban over the possible transfer of five senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a U.S. soldier captured nearly five years ago, a senior Taliban official told the Associated Press.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 27, of Hailey, Idaho, was last seen in a video released in December, footage seen as “proof of life” demanded by the United States. Bergdahl is believed to be held in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the only U.S. soldier to be captured in America’s longest war, which began with the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for sheltering al-Qaida in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The talks, which the Taliban official said took place sometime over the past two months in a Middle East country, would be the first significant movement toward an exchange since it was last discussed by the U.S. and the Taliban in June 2013.
A U.S. official said the Americans are considering a prisoner exchange but would not comment on whether any new talks have taken place. The official, who has been closely involved with this issue and has knowledge of previous talks with the Taliban, refused to give more details.
In Kabul, a senior Afghan official said the U.S. has recently been in touch with Hamid Karzai’s government over a possible swap involving Berdahl, who was captured on June 30, 2009.