It seems that the Afghan Taliban may be finally ready to release U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl who they have had in captivity since 2009. The Taliban recently made an offer to exchange U.S. Army Sgt. Bergdahl for five of their senior operatives that have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for a decade. President Hamid Karzai is now willing to join in planned peace talks with the Taliban and wants a formal letter from the United States supporting the Afghan government.
Bergdahl has been imprisoned by the Taliban since he disappeared from his base in southeastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, almost 4 years ago. He is believed to be held captive in Pakistan, but his condition and whereabouts are unknown. The prisoner exchange is first on the Taliban’s agenda before they will even consider opening peace talks with Afghanistan.
The reconciliation with the Taliban was begun nearly two years ago when the U.S. opened secret talks with them. They had initially discussed prisoner exchanges at that time, but Karzai stepped in and demanded that they be returned to Afghanistan over Taliban objections. The U.S. has been trying to jumpstart peace talks since then and the two have made small gestures towards doing so. If the U.S. does meet with the Taliban, it will be the first time in nearly 1.5 years that they have been engaged in talks. This sign is encouraging to Bergdahl’s parents who remain hopeful that they will see their son again.
Peace talks with the Taliban, however, have not been easy. On Tuesday, the Taliban held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in which they hoisted their flag and banner. During the ceremony, the Taliban said that they welcomed dialogue with Washington but that they would not stop fighting. Hours later, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Bagram Air Base that killed four American service members.
For years, Rolling Thunder®, Inc has been working hard to raise awareness for American POW/MIA Bowe Bergdahl. Their recent Ride for Freedom on Memorial Day weekend in Washington, DC was dedicated to Bowe Bergdahl and to gaining his release.
Motorcycle Ride for Bowe Bergdahl
This Saturday, Bowe Bergdahl’s father will ride his son’s motorcycle
in a Missing Man Formation with 500 motorcyclists accompanying him. Bob Bergdahl will ride with five motorcyclists from the Illinois Rolling Thunder
chapter and other POW and MIA groups from throughout the Pacific Northwest. They will converge on the Bring Bowe Back bash that is scheduled to begin a 1pm at Hailey’s Hop Porter Park on West Bullion Street, in Haiely, Idaho. City officials expect at least 2,000 people to attend this event.
Let’s hope Bowe Berhdahl will be home soon!