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White House still mulling Taliban swap offer for U.S. POW

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2013

As the Obama administration prepares for a potential sit-down with the Taliban, the White House hasn't decided whether it will entertain a trade offer that would return an American soldier held since 2009 in exchange for five Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay.

The deal, proposed by Afghan Taliban leaders this week, would include the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American prisoner of war in the Afghanistan conflict. In exchange, the U.S. would set free five Taliban operatives, including the group's former chief of army staff, a deputy minister of intelligence and other high-level members.

Any potential transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees would take place only in consultation with Congress, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.

"There are some issues we would like to discuss with the Taliban directly, and that includes the safe return of Sgt. Bergdahl," Mr. Carney told reporters. "We expect the Taliban to raise the issue of their detainees … at this time we've made no decisions about the transfer of detainees."

Mr. Bergdahl is believed to be in Pakistan, and Taliban leaders said this week that he remains in "good condition."

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