Thursday, June 20, 2013

WH on American Soldier Kidnapped By Taliban: He's 'Been Away from Us for Four Years'

    On Tuesday, National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden moderated a conference call with two unnamed senior administration officials to provide background for reporters on today's transition in Afghanistan handing over the lead on security in the country to the Afghan National Security Forces.  One reporter inquired about how the recently reported peace talks with the Taliban came about, and what conditions were met or will need to be met in order for those talk to move ahead. While following up, the reporter asked about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the only U.S. soldier held captive by the Taliban.  In the course of answering the question, one of the unnamed administration officials characterized Bergdahl's time in Taliban captivity as having been "away from us for four years":
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I would just add to that, as my colleague mentioned earlier, that we obviously have an interest in the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl who’s been [now] away from us for four years
    Sergeant Bergdahl has been held by the Taliban since 2009 and has been the subject of prisoner exchange negotiations that so far have not borne fruit.  Over the years, the Taliban have released at least five videos of Bergdahl and have demanded $1 million ransom in exchange for his freedom.

Note: This article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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