NEW YORK (CNN) – Officials in Washington are reportedly prepared to release five Taliban prisoners in the hopes of freeing a u-s soldier in the Middle East.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has appeared in captivity in numerous videos, recently seen issuing a desperate appeal for release.
“Release me please I’m begging you.”
The U.S. has begun new talks to get Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl back home after more than four years in captivity.
“Bring me home. Bring us all home. Please. Please. Bring me home.”
Working through intermediaries, most likely the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, the U.S. is trying to see what it would take to get Bergdahl free.
He’s been held since July 2009 when he apparently walked away from his base in eastern Afghanistan. It’s believed the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network inside Pakistan has him. The Taliban in the past has demanded the release of five prisoners from Guantanamo bay.
“Whether it be our State Department for our diplomatic efforts, whether it be our military for their efforts, or whether it be our intelligence operations for their efforts I’m confident that Bowe Bergdahl is at the top of their priority list as well. And I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve had and conversations I’ve had with high level and onsite level officials, who are working on this,” said Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks, CNN Military Analyst.
The Washington Post is reporting the U.S. has now agreed to release all five Taliban prisoners simultaneously to the Qataris, to guarantee Bergdahl’s release.
Administration officials will say little other than they have never given up trying to get Bergdahl back.
“We are not involved in active negotiations with the Taliban. Clearly if negotiations do resume at some point, then we will want to talk with the Taliban about the safe return of Sgt. Bergdahl,” said Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.
The Bergdahl family issued a statement saying: “We are cautiously optimistic these discussions will lead to the safe return of our son.”
There is growing urgency, as us troops could be gone from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
“We are running out of time. I think this administration has decided that we will not have a long-term presence in Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Marks.
Bergdahl appeared frail in a still unreleased classified made in December. The existence of the video was first reported on CNN, officials say Bergdahl’s declining health only adds to the determination to get him home.