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Taliban suspends talks with U.S. about exchange of captive soldier

Taliban Suspends Talks To Release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Afghanistan's Taliban says it has suspended "mediation" with the United States to exchange captive U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban prisoners held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, halting - at least temporarily - what was considered the best chance yet of securing the 27-year-old's freedom since his capture in 2009.

In a terse Pashto language statement emailed to the Associated Press on Sunday, Zabihullah Mujahed blamed the "current complex political situation in the country" for the suspension.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was last seen in a video released in December, footage seen as "proof of life" demanded by the United States. Bergdahl is believed to be held in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mujahed said the indirect talks with the United States had been mediated by the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where the Taliban established a political office last June. The video of Bergdahl was part of the negotiations which were to lead to the eventual transfer of five senior Taliban leaders held since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay.

"The leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the process for some time due to the current complex political situation in the country," according to the statement. "The process will remain suspended without the exchange of the prisoners until our decision to resume."

The Taliban spokesman did not elaborate on what "political situation" in Afghanistan led to the suspension of talks or say when they might resume. Afghanistan is in the middle of a presidential election campaign. President Hamid Karzai cannot seek another term in office under the Afghan constitution which allows only two terms as president. The election is scheduled for April 5.

The U.S. State Department has refused to acknowledge the negotiations, but a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press that indirect talks were underway. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In response to the Taliban statement, U.S. Embassy Spokesman in Kabul Robert Hilton said: "Sgt. Bergdahl has been gone far too long, however we can't discuss the efforts we're taking to obtain his return."

Efforts at a swap are also seen as a concession to Karzai. Washington would like to see him back away from his refusal to sign a security pact that is necessary for the United States to leave a residual force behind in Afghanistan

Karzai he wants Washington to push reconciliation between the warring factions forward, without offering specifics.

The five Taliban detainees at the heart of the proposal are the most senior Afghans still held at the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba. Each has been held since 2002.

They include:

- Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate its control over the country.

- Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence and was in direct contact with supreme leader Mullah Omar as well as other senior Taliban figures, according to military documents. Under Wasiq, there were widespread accounts of killings, torture and mistreatment.

- Mullah Norullah Nori, who was a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001. He previously served as a Taliban governor in two northern provinces, where he has been accused of ordering the massacre of thousands of Shiites.

- Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and a military commander and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. military documents. His U.S. lawyers have argued in court papers that his affiliation with the Taliban was a matter of circumstance, rather than ideology, and that he had backed away from them by the time of his capture. His lawyers also have argued that he was merely a civil servant and had no military role, though a judge found otherwise and said there was enough evidence to justify holding him at Guantanamo. His lawyers have appealed.

- Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban's communications office in Kabul and as an office manager in the border department, according to U.S. military documents. In the spring of 2002, he told interrogators that he received about $500 from a CIA operative as part of the unsuccessful effort to track down Mullah Omar. When that didn't pan out, he says he ended up helping the agency locate al-Qaida members.

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leells February 24 2014 at 6:30 AM

Lucky to be alive he is alive to be used to promote the whole insane notion that the Supreme whatever is the guy that make the rules all the time praying 5 times a day to God blowing stuff up all over the world plotting more of the same and US citizens here and abroad are counting their Fiat Money (money that is worthless and printed to represent something to barter with with backing) all the while this guy and other get nabbed in the name of some idiot and his God, Supreme Leader, and it's been that way forever, in the USA we have our's too it's call Corporate America all ready to sell out to the lowert bidder never here and take unreal profits until whatever it was include intellecutal property, American plants people and other F+++ed up things claim it take it we have no recourse and oh but we owe them something, they are like a bad cancer in the world and what is it about American we consider it okay while our jobs, manufacturing, intellectual property, ability to educate our kids and generations, global striff abounds and of course our politicians let it happen because they run behind all the corporate American leaders and collect lots of large sums of loose change, no just a few dollars but hidden benefits and money, stuff all in the name of helping the very people they represent and that would be whom, well that's easy them, not us, all the while standing on the soap boxes that say made in China and stooping that they are againt this and that and will fix it and get America back right, or guys like this Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the bottom line is why they are fat happy and we all if we are luck to have a minimum wage job work one or too of them to make it all the while we owe China almost 100 trillion dollars okay let's relate that to something it's more money that all the countries in the world own our included and more gold that there is in all the banks in the world, so with no accountablity for human rights, balance and checks by a country like China who will win. It's not to late but we just have to take that chance like Kennedy did when Russia was going to put missels on the shores of Cuba and then take back now just stop it no negotiation or politifal BS about how to do it just do it they China, Russia, North Korea supported by the same do it duplicate US Intellectual property, they Nationalize American plants our country allows to be made and shipped to them then change the name to some Chinese company and who's to stop them so we lose our secrets, all the stuff we made because they took it, the larges robbery with million of murders and we sit back our leaders allow it our people work in service jobs like hamburgers and minimum wage jobs at Walmart, name your company, the guys running the Corporate America and the Politicians are all fat and filthy Rich at our expense then they say it good for us REALLY.

My fine feather friend of the USA we are sitting here in the building knowing it a 5 alarm fire and wait to be burned alive?

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dal February 24 2014 at 6:08 AM

He is lucky to be alive (if he is) most reports I get from the front tell me better to die than be captured by these thugs.

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leells February 24 2014 at 5:59 AM

Are you not tired of this crap get the heck out of Taliban country or get back in get rid of all of them no questions and clean up the other messes, keeping in mind the longer we allow China, Russia and all those other countries support the great work these idiots contribute to the world I mean really look how they move forward and it's always the Supreme Leader really Supreme Leader I though it was God or Allah that was the Supreme Leader. The US government and their covert and open ways are not always the right way but over the short lived time we have been a country we have helped support and promotede the best of what the world wants it's the Supreme Leaders, not unlike today a repeat of the Supreme Leader in Iran, North Korea, China, Russia (Putim working his fellow citizens into and back to the future of the old guard the USSR where everyone is a good citizen or else). I mean I was around during the early 50's just born I watched the insane things over my lifetime that didn't work, and it's now like our own country has degraded into some sort of let diesuss it like China because although the represent everything we totally disagree we have completely caved into their taking our jobs, giving them our technology only to have it reversed enginnered and then they take that kick out the US company change the name to some Chinese company and claim all intellectual or copyrights because well frankly we used them as our Visa and Mastercard and we OWE THEM trillions really, 25 years ago they had no roads, intastructure, ability to take the masses Hong Kong was given back they took it all they floated their money so that the exchange looks great 1/3 less to our dollar but with all the stealing and nationalizaing of American and other Countries ownership and just stealing it the reality of it is they own the world, so the Russians sell Nuclear stuff to them they sell it to Iran and Pakastain, other around the work totall support North Korea, and we sit by and go oh well, next time you are at a Walmark and get that TV Sears has for 799 Walmark has for 499 look at the made in and I will bet 99.9% of ALMOST eveything in your basket is from China. Oh ps they have no safety, FDA, Comsumer Groups, use prisioner and slave labor and if you buy anything made in China it could kill you blow up on you, and who's accountable nobody.....well back to the point, if we continue down this road of everyone and negotiations with people that have no moral code or a majority of populations that are so (over years and years) of Supreme something leader's, bad religion, and trained from birth that American's and the majority of developed and free Europe (oh by the way who made that happen) free Europe, American continue to support purchases and corporate American dirty for money and power only sell off our pride, trade secrets, intellectual property to be overtaken then we are to be the next in line to lock step with their so called free society it's not send a message.

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cherofnc February 24 2014 at 5:45 AM

I am old enough to remember the American Embassy hostages Iran paraded around with blindfolds on....pushing them in front of the cameras during the incompetant Carter Administration. The very day Reagan was inaugurated, they were released. Lucky for us and those hostages, Carter was a one term president. American voters were smarter then.

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Justice is Rare February 24 2014 at 5:20 AM

I would like to say, I trust the Taliban but, I don't. I don't believe they are just postphoning the talks for now, I just don't trust them.!! What have they done to earn trust? I wish they would free this soldier. I wish the war in Afghanistan was over, as well as Iraq but, as long there are Radical Islamics, I don't think it ever will end. Terrorism IMO will always exist, so why not bring our soldiers home. I do think our men should come home, and I don't know why our men are still there. I know there are innocent Muslims, and maybe we are protecting them, I don't know. If so why not train them to defend themselves. I think they should have there own people to protect them. they have terrorism global, so why are there no other protection for these people if this is the case. You can't tell me, Iraqi soldiers or Iraqi civilians are helpless and cannot fight. The Afghans beat the Russians, and how many other countries, so why would they need protection from the Taliban. Now I don't mean that regular Afghans are terrorists, or regular Iraqi's. I don't think they are but, how do you know who to trust.? I don't believe they all are, I just know they are people who are fighters. I guess my question is why are we still there., in Iraq. I don't trust Pakistan either, as that is a terrorist area as well. Justiceisrare@aol.com

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islandguyh February 24 2014 at 4:04 AM

This malcontent 'deserter' sat down and took off his body armor and left the base with Afgan base workers intentionally endangering himself. If he ever is released he should be shot as anArmy deserter during fighting.

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Justice is Rare February 24 2014 at 5:29 AM

islandguyh, how can you possibly say that, are you not thinking? Okay so he left the base with Afghan base workers, Again Afghan base workers, and you say he intentionally endangered himself. How do you figure that? How do we know who we can trust over there? They don't exactly wear a sign saying, Hello I am a Terrorist!! If he ever is released he should be shot, as an Army deserter during fighting. Why? He did not desert, and he should be released and sent home to his family. Please think before you are so cruel, he has a family praying for his return home safely. Get real, or better still, as long as you want to criticize, join the service and go over there, and then let's hear your opinion. Justiceisrare@aol.com

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LilAnnie2012 February 24 2014 at 2:58 AM

Even though one U.S. soldier got taken captive doesn't mean the U.S. should release five terrorists! I don't want to think he'd die for us but I wonder what he'd do? Why would the Taliban think he's leverage? He's just one soldier amount zillions. Why would they target him and think the government would let five evil people loose again? They should of been executed ASAP! They are dangerous to Americans! Why would the US even agree to negotiate? Makes no sense!

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mvaldez449 February 24 2014 at 2:34 AM

If it is true that this soldier walked away from his unit, then it is a no brainer. Why even think about negotiating! This kind of precedent is awful. Can you imagine how many U.S. soldiers will be in harms way at it's worse!

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alpha99 February 24 2014 at 2:12 AM

How about each week he is held, one captive in Gitmo gets sick and somehow dies. And if the American gets sick and dies, 25 of theirs get sick and die. When in the Middle East or East Asia, do as the Romans would do.

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STEELER February 24 2014 at 1:01 AM

Let's just blow them up!!! Tired of acting like mister nice guy

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