White House Negotiates Release Of Taliban Prisoners
May 11, 2012 by Bryan Nash
What do stamps, baseball cards, coins and prisoners of war have in common? They can all be traded.
The White House and Taliban are negotiating a trade: five Taliban soldiers for one American.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 26, is believed to have been in the hands of the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Taliban, for the past three years. The Taliban have released five videos of Bergdahl since his capture.
The five Taliban prisoners are being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Previously, the arrangement was kept secret, but Bergdahl’s parents have spoken out about the trade.
“There is a dynamic here that has changed,” Bob Bergdahl said in an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express about his son’s ordeal. “Everybody is frustrated with how slowly the process has evolved.”
Bergdahl’s parents believe the trade would present a win-win situation, but their faith in the White House is dwindling.
The New York Times reported: “Both Mr. Bergdahl and his wife, Jani, said they were upset that although they had had good relations with the State Department and the Pentagon during the three years that their son has been missing, they had never heard from President Obama.”
Jani Bergdahl told The Times: “He has never contacted us. We haven’t gotten a Hallmark card, we haven’t gotten a note signed by an aide, nothing. Is it because he thinks we’re not Democrats?” (The Times reports that the Bergdahls are Ron Paul supporters.)
Col. David Lapan, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in response to the publicity of the trade: “If they’re angry and/or frustrated, that’s certainly understandable. I would say our leaders are frustrated as well.”
In March, the Taliban walked away from negotiations, stating that the United States had reneged on several promises.
Bob Bergdahl has taken matters into his own hands, contacting the Taliban through their website.
“I told them I am doing what I can to see that the president understands this issue,” he said.
Some media outlets were aware of the deal, but had not reported the story at the request of the Pentagon and White House. The Bergdahls’ interview with the Idaho Mountain Express brought the story to light.