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Captive US soldier's parents urge Guantanamo swap
6 years ago

Captive US soldier's parents urge Guantanamo swap

Still image taken from video of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl 19 July 2009
Sgt Bowe Bergdahl has appeared in five Taliban videos, most recently in May 2011

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The parents of the only US soldier held by the Taliban have broken their silence to urge that he be swapped with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.


Bob and Jani Bergdahl said they were frustrated at the pace of negotiations to return their son, Sgt Bowe Bergdahl.


He was captured in June 2009 and it is thought he is being held by a Taliban affiliate in north-west Pakistan.


The 26-year-old's release is part of talks between the US and the Taliban, which have been stalled since January.


The Bergdahls spoke to the Idaho Mountain Express, after almost three years of silence. It is thought the US military had encouraged the family to keep a low profile in order not to disrupt negotiations.


After a prisoner-of-war group asked Bob Bergdahl to speak in Washington on US Memorial Day, the family decided to go public to bring more attention to their son's captivity.


"We started out by trying to encourage the Taliban to take care of our son," he told the Express. "Now, we're worried that the government isn't concerned enough to put him on the [negotiating] table."


He told the New York Times: "We don't have faith in the US government being able to reconcile this."


State department negotiators had been trying to transfer five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to house arrest in Qatar in exchange for Sgt Bergdahl, said US officials.


But the Taliban walked away from talks in March and that deal, which would have faced stiff political opposition in the US, has been in limbo ever since.


In a rare statement on Sgt Bergdahl, a Pentagon spokesman said the US was working to find and free the US soldier, using whatever methods needed.


"I wouldn't rule anything in or out," Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.

6 years ago

I would hope that Obama would be able to step down from his campaiging of he past 3 1/2 years long enough to try to do what he can to get this man returned to the U.S.  I realize that the Pentagon is working on this, but Obama and the State Department could do more; they should have done more.

6 years ago

Carol, I would not blame him at all.  This is the first President that has not at least come out with a statement about this.  Amazing, I will never stop being amazed at the arrogance and yet the lack of effort displayed by this president.

6 years ago

Linda and Carol, I find this very hard to take in, why as not Obama done something before now, when reading some reports, I found one that does make me wonder where Obama is coming from, indeed there was a Secret U.S. program releases high-level insurgents in exchange for pledges of peace by Obama, why is that Obama did not bring the matter of this young man up and get him released


I do believe that Obama will bent over backwards for his re-election, but when comes to the People of America who request his help, the request falls on deaf ears, it does make outsides like myself wonder, who side is Obama on in this war on terror.


6 years ago

Ray, he will now be forced to look at this and will try to spin it to his advantage as he does everything else.  After all, it was much more critical to get a OWS movement going to attack the wealthy, and to get racial tension going by coming out in the Zimmerman/Martin case; but when it comes to defending our military personal in a case like this, he turns a blind eye and will only act if he is under too much media attention that would make him look bad.  Shoot, he can take credit for bin Laden and yet let a Sgt. in the military sit in captivity with no effort to get him released.  I guess this is just another illustration of how little the military and the average citizen mean to him in terms of their life; now their vote is another matter altogether.  Heck No, He Has To Go!!!!!!

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