The Taliban's see-saw between talking peace and waging violence swung back to conciliation on Thursday, when the group offered to return a captive American soldier in exchange for prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay.
There is believed to be only one American soldier currently held captive by the Taliban, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who went missing from his Afghanistan base in 2009. A Taliban spokesperson says they willing to release Bergdahl in exchange for five prisoners who have been in American custody for more than a decade. The spokesperson also siad Bergdahl is in "good condition," and his parents in Idaho received a letter from him earlier this month, that was delivered through the Red Cross.
The prisoner exchange is said to be an opening prerequisite before any peace negotiations can begin. But the entire peace process has been nothing but demands and accusations to this point, and we're not much closer to actual talks than we were when the war started. The Taliban opened an office Qatar for the express purpose of beginning diplomatic meetings, but they were already canceled before they begin, in part because the Afghan government was offended by the Talibans use of its old, banned name. Now the actual status of the peace talks appears to be up in the air, as the diplomatic bickering continues.
Meanwhile, the Taliban hasn't let up on its attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces, making it even more difficult to take the peace process seriously. The U.S. hasn't responded to the prisoner swap idea yet, but given the difficult that the President has had in closing the prison, convincing everyone to let five Taliban fighter go (even in exchange for one of our own) won't be easy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.