Bowe Bergdahl could soon be released from captivity with the Afghanistan Taliban, but a deal to send him home comes with great complications.
The father of the Army sergeant said he is weighing potential deals for Bowe’s release, which would involve releasing detainees from Guantanemo prison.
“Wars are very easy to get into and very difficult to get out of, especially in South Asia…Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy… it is long overdue in the region,” Bowe’s father wrote in an email to CBS News.
Bowe Bergdahl was taken hostage in 2009 near his camp, and is now believed to be held in Pakistan.
In order to release Bergdahl, the Taliban in Afghanistan wants five of its members now in US custody released from Guantanamo Bay. The same deal had been offered in the past, but it was shot down by the Afghan government.
The detainees are all high-ranking military officials, said CBS News senior correspondent John Miller.
“On the one hand, getting them back gets them out of Guantanamo, which is one problem and is an important relief to the Taliban,” Miller said. “On the other hand, these are not the kind of people you would want to return to the battlefield because the Taliban posture on this is, ‘We’re ready to talk, and by the way, while we’re talking, we’ll just keep fighting as we see from the rocket attack the other day at Bagram Air Base.”
After peace talks began in earnest, four US troops were killed in the attack outside Bagram Air Base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which threatened to stall any further negotiations.
The prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl is reportedly top on the Taliban’s agenda, ranking even above peace talks. The Obama administration had addressed the proposal but not committed to either side.
“We’ve been very clear on our feelings about Sgt. Bergdahl and the need for him to be released,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We have not made a decision to … transfer any Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, but we anticipate, as I’ve said, that the Taliban will all raise this issue.”
Hope appears to be growing in Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho. His family, who in the past have shied away from media but have attended rallies supporting Bowe’s release, are growing in their hope, sources say. Earlier this month Bowe Bergdahl sent a letter home through the International Committee of the Red Cross.