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05 June 2014

The Taliban Offered To Trade Bergdahl Within 48 Hours Of His 'Disappearance'

From Wikileaks via The Daily Mail:

Less than 48 hours after Bergdahl, then an Army private, disappeared, military commanders in Afghanistan were offered terms to reclaim him. It's unclear why that opportunity fell through.

According to field reports published online by Wikileaks, soldiers conducting a Key Leader Engagement (KLE) discussion with tribal elders and Afghanistan National Police in Paktika province weretold of a Taliban offer for his safe return.

Battallion Command was radioed that officers had 'just finished with the KLE with 2 x elders from Mest and the Mest ANP commander. The elders were asked by the Taliban to [arrange] a trade between the U.S. and Taliban.'

'The Taliban terms are 15 of their Taliban brothers in U.S. jail and some money in exchange for Pvt Bergdahl,' a transcript of the radio traffic read. 'The elders assured me that Pvt Bergdahl is alive and that he is not being harmed.'

Police offered help the tribal elders with money for a car, fuel and light weapons in order to make the exchange, but it never happened. 

It's also unclear whether the 'U.S. jail' the Taliban referred to was Guantanamo Bay or a local holding facility in Afghanistan.

So, what happened?  Did Obama not want to make the deal because he wanted to close Gitmo and had to get rid of the top 5 most hardened terrorists after those directly connected with 9/11?  Did he have an idea that negotiating with terrorists and making prisoner swaps that would have put more of the Taliban back on the battlefield in 2009 would have doomed his reelection?

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