Afghan Taliban offer to free captive US soldier

Published June 20, 2013
US Army Private Bowe Bergdahl watches as one of his captors displays his identity tag to the camera at an unknown location in Afghanistan, in this still image taken from video on July 19, 2009. — Photo by Reuters
US Army Private Bowe Bergdahl watches as one of his captors displays his identity tag to the camera at an unknown location in Afghanistan, in this still image taken from video on July 19, 2009. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban say they are ready to hand over a US soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

A Taliban spokesman, Shaheen Suhail, says US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl ''is as far as I know in good condition.''

Suhail spoke in an exclusive telephone interview with The Associated Press from the newly opened Taliban offices in Doha, Qatar.

Bergdahl disappeared in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

Shaheen says ''first has to be the release of detainees,'' and after that, the Taliban ''want to build bridges of confidence.''

He offered no details on Bergdahl's current whereabouts.

He spoke as the US is scrambling to save talks with the Taliban after angry complaints from President Hamid Karzai.

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