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article imageTaliban float idea of releasing U.S. soldier in detainee exchange

By Marcus Hondro     Jun 20, 2013 in World
In a telephone interview with the Taliban's Shaheen Suhail, A.P. learned the insurgency group would consider an exchange with the Americans. U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured June 30, 2009 in Afghanistan and could be traded for detainees.
"First has to be the release of detainees," Suhail, a spokesman for the Taliban, said today when an A.P. reporter asked about Bergdahl. "Yes. It would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward." Suhail added that "as far as I know" Bergdahl was in "good condition."
Sgt. Bergdahl: U.S. soldier held by Taliban
There was no talk on how many detainees the Taliban would insist upon for the release of the U.S. sergeant. Sgt. Bergdahl is the only American soldier known held by the Taliban. From Haley, Idaho, his parents have reportedly been appraised of the potential exchange and are said to be encouraged. There's been no timetable set and this news has not yet drawn an official response from the Americans.
Suhail spoke to A.P. from an office that the Taliban opened this week in Doha, Qatar. The opening of a Taliban office there is considered a major step and a precursor toward the Taliban sitting down with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his government for peace talks.
It's unknown to what extent NATA and the U.S. would be involved in those talks. NATO and the U.S. handed over the last bases to Afghanistan this week and the country's national security forces are now fully in control.
More about Taliban, doha qatar, peace talks with karzai, US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, Afghan detainees
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