BOISE, Idaho — The parents of a U.S. soldier in captivity for three years after being taken prisoner in Afghanistan are hopeful aggressive negotiations or a prisoner swap could bring home their son.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, was captured in June 2009 and is believed held by a group affiliated with the Taliban, likely somewhere in Pakistan.
Since then, his parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, have largely kept out of the public eye.
But they spoke to their local weekly newspaper the Idaho Mountain Express this week in hopes that renewed public attention to their son’s plight would help secure his release.
“It’s the power of the people. If we could get (comedian) Jimmy Fallon to Tweet about it, that would be something,” said Bob Bergdahl, adding he’s concerned the U.S. government hasn’t done enough to secure his 26-year-old son’s release. “There is a dynamic here that has to change. Everybody is frustrated with how slowly the process has evolved.”
After disappearing June 30, 2009, while deployed with his U.S. Army unit, Bowe Bergdahl is being held by a group called the Haqqani network. He’s spent three birthdays in captivity.
In August 2011, talks with the Taliban over Bergdahl broke down after progressing to a substantive negotiation.
They ended, however, after Afghan officials became nervous that the secret and independent talks would undercut President Hamid Karzai, Afghan and U.S. officials told The Associated Press at the time.
To solicit support for further action, Bob Bergdahl plans to speak at an annual demonstration to recognize prisoners of war over Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C.
The event, organized by the nonprofit POW support group Rolling Thunder, typically attracts more than 100,000 motorcyclists to the nation’s capital.
“With all that’s going on, we really need a diplomatic path to get this resolved,” Bob Bergdahl said.