The U.S. government may be back at the bargaining table with the Taliban for the freedom of U.S. prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 and has been held by the Haqqani Network insurgent group ever since.
Human Events reported in May on Bergdahl’s plight, seemingly a low-priority concern for his government and in limbo after a recent negotiation effort went offline. Now, CNN and Reuters report that negotiations for Bergdahl may be in motion once more, with a new twist on a proposal that would transfer five detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the captive POW.
“The new proposal involves sending all five Taliban prisoners to Qatar first, before the Taliban releases Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the sources said. The original offer proposed transferring the Taliban prisoners into two groups, with Bergdahl being released in between,” reports CNN. “The officials stress that the exchange, should it take place, would be implemented in accordance with U.S. law, which requires consultations with Congress before any detainees are transferred from Guantanamo.”
That requirement could be a sticking point: while veterans’ rights groups and a number of members of Congress have expressed sympathy for Bergdahl’s plight, others have made it clear that they will not support any negotiations with the Taliban to recover the captive soldier.
Staff for House Armed Services Committee member Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told Human Events earlier this year that Hunter would oppose such negotiations. Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.), while saying he endorsed talks with the Taliban, has criticized the detainee-release deal for Bergdahl as “highly questionable.”