American officials are attempting to reopen negotiations with the Taliban in order to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an Army Sergeant who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009. The negotiations over Bergdahl have been dormant for a while, but, according to The Washington Post, U.S. officials are trying to escalate talks as a year-end deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan looms.
There are currently no immediate plans to negotiate with the Haqqani, who are part of the broader Taliban insurgency but separate operationally, but the proposal would be to release five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl. American intelligence recently obtained video confirming that Bergdahl was alive—a question that had previously been unanswered for the past three years.
State Department spokeswomen Jen Psaki did not discuss details with the AFP, but told them that, "there should be no doubt that we work every day -- using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools -- to try to see Sergeant Bergdahl returned home safely." American negotiators have apparently been trying to strike up talks for a while, but received little response from the Taliban on the receiving end. The captive's exact whereabouts are unknown, though he is believed to be in Pakistan, and a rescue mission has been considered infeasible for quite some time.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of still-unsigned security agreements between Afghanistan and the U.S. Should no agreement be reached by the end of 2014, American forces would have to withdraw, leaving even less leverage for securing Bergdahl's release.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.