- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2013

Taliban militants in Afghanistan have offered a trade to the United States: Give us five senior operatives imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and we’ll free one American soldier held captive since 2009.

It’s believed the group is referring to U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, The Associated Press reported. He’s the only known captive from the Afghanistan conflict. He went missing on June 30, 2009, and military intelligence suggests he’s now in Pakistan, AP said.

Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail said on Thursday that Sgt. Bergdahl “is, as far as I know, in good condition,” AP reported.

The offer comes on the heels of canceled talks between Taliban militants and U.S. officials, and just after the radical group claimed responsibility for killing four American soldiers. Mr. Suhail said Taliban heads won’t revisit the idea of peace talks without first securing a prisoner exchange deal, AP said.

“First has to be the release of detainees,” he said, AP reported. “Yes, it would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward.”

U.S. authorities did not respond to the offer in the AP report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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