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Report: U.S. considers resuming talks with Taliban on prisoner swap

  |   Feb. 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Washington wants to resume talks with the Taliban on a prisoner swap for a U.S. soldier captured in 2009, sources told the Washington Post.

Five members of the Afghan Taliban held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be exchanged for Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, the Post reported Tuesday.

Bergdahl went missing from a base in eastern Afghanistan June 30, 2009, and is believed to be held in Pakistan by members of the Haqqani network, a Taliban ally.

The initial U.S. offer was made more than two years ago, but the Taliban rejected the deal because the prisoners would have been released one or two at a time as a test of Taliban credibility.

U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Post cited two people familiar with the decision as saying no formal offer has yet been made. Additionally, no State Department or other officials have yet planned a trip to Qatar, where contact with Taliban representatives would be made and which has agreed to maintain custody of the prisoners once they are released.

Pentagon officials said last month they had received a new video indicating Bergdahl was alive. It was the first such evidence in nearly three years.

Bergdahl, an infantryman with a unit from Alaska, is believed to have been captured after he walked off his base in Paktika province. The Taliban claimed they had captured him and offered to release him in exchange for $1 million and 21 Afghan prisoners.

A U.S. official said there is no accurate information about where Bergdahl is being held.

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