In a rare interview just published by the Idaho Mountain Express, the Bergdahl family sent a message out to all who are working to support Bowe. Out of concerns for their son’s safety, and on advice of the military and United States government, the Bergdahls have spoken little publicly about their son during his nearly three years of captivity.
From the article By GREGORY FOLEY, Express Staff Writer:
Nearly three years after finding out their son Bowe was taken hostage by enemy forces while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Hailey-area residents Bob and Jani Bergdahl are breaking a long silence, hopeful that renewed awareness about Bowe’s plight will lead to his release and return home to Idaho.
In an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express, the Bergdahls said they believe Bowe is alive and could be brought home through aggressive negotiations or, possibly, a prisoner exchange. They said they are now vocally supporting grassroots efforts to bring their son’s case into the spotlight, in part because of mounting frustration over the inability of the U.S. government to negotiate Bowe’s release.
“There is a dynamic here that has changed,” Bob Bergdahl said. “Everybody is frustrated with how slowly the process has evolved.”
Pursuant to that frustration, Mr. Bergdahl said he and his wife now want to publicly thank activists across the globe who have initiated petitions and awareness campaigns to recognize Bowe and plead for his safe return to the United States. And, Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl said, they are advocating that the Pentagon and the White House consider swapping one or more U.S. prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for their son.
“I’m pushing it hard,” Mr. Bergdahl said. “We started out by trying to encourage the Taliban to take care of our son. … Now, we’re worried that the government isn’t concerned enough to put him on the (negotiating) table.”
Mr. Bergdahl said he and his wife want to see a peaceful resolution to the standoff, preferably one that doesn’t put other American soldiers in harm’s way in order to secure Bowe’s freedom.
“We don’t want to see Americans killed,” he said.
Mrs. Bergdahl said the family has reasons to believe that Bowe is still in captivity in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
“We know he is doing as well as he can be,” she said.
Mr. Bergdahl said he believes a deal to swap Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo for Bowe would be a “win-win” for the United States—his son could be returned safely to Idaho and the government could foster goodwill with the Afghan people. The ongoing imprisonment of suspected war criminals at the Cuba compound and reports of mistreatment of prisoners there encourages anti-American sentiment and might be helping some organizations to recruit soldiers to fight against the United States, he said.
Earlier this year, talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States in Qatar failed, as the Taliban leadership reportedly refused to accept the U.S. demand of a cease-fire before swapping prisoners. Sources in the Taliban reportedly said the group had set up an office in Qatar and wanted to negotiate for five top commanders held at Guantanamo since 2002.
Mr. Bergdahl said he and his wife have worried extensively that Bowe has been in danger of being harmed as a pawn of the ongoing war.
“Bowe’s been (living) under the drone program the entire time,” he said, referring to U.S. military initiatives to use unmanned drones to bomb enemy posts. “It scares the hell out of us.” READ MORE
In light of this new information, it is all the more urgent that all Bowe Supporters work to contact the following on Bowe’s behalf: their Members of Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the White House. We all need to step up our efforts to tell others Bowe’s story and we must ask others to contact those who represent them in government. Our elected officials need to know that Bowe’s supporters mean business and that “we’re doing everything that we can” is NOT an acceptable answer. Those who have the power to bring Bowe home clearly aren’t doing enough or Bowe would be home by now. And if they’re really doing everything they can, then they need to figure out how to do something more post haste. Time is of the essence; December 2014, an important goal date in the United States’ Afghanistan exit strategy, will be upon us in no time.
Find out HOW to contact your Members of Congress.
In light of the recent interview given by the family of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, it is all the more urgent for those who support Sergeant Bergdahl to contacted their Members of Congress and other government officials who have the power to Bring Bowe Home.