|Bergdahl Passes Four Years as Taliban Captive|
|By MUHAMMAD LILA (@muhammadlila) and ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Jun 30, 2013, 2:16 PM|
The four-year anniversary of the disappearance and capture of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl comes on the heels of the news that the terrorist group holding him captive is willing to let him go, but at a great cost.
Bergdahl, 27, of Hailey, Idaho, was discovered missing during a unit roll-call in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. He was declared captured by the Taliban four days later.
He is the only known American soldier held captive since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Now, the Taliban has stated they would be willing to return Bergdahl to the U.S. after four years as a prisoner of war, but only if five of their senior operatives in custody at Guantanamo Bay prison are returned in exchange, the Associated Press reported.
Shaheen Suhail, a Taliban spokesman, told the AP that for the deal to pass muster, "first has to be the release of the detainees."
"It would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward," Suhail said on June 20.
While Suhail did not provide details on Bergdahl's whereabouts, he told the AP Bergdahl "is as far as I know in good condition."
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the AP that it had been insistent about Bergdahl's release, but "we have not made a decision to ... transfer any Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay."
While negotiations have reportedly stalled, it is unclear whether a prisoner swap is still up for discussion.
Despite the fact that little news has come of Bergdahl's condition, he is believed to be alive.
His parents, Robert and Jani Bergdahl, reportedly received a handwritten letter from their son through the Red Cross in April. While Bergdahl has appeared in Taliban videos since he was taken captive, the last recording showing him alive was in November 2011.
The captured soldier's parents remain hopeful that their son's safe return is possible, and held a rally in Hailey, Idaho, just two days after learning of the Taliban's proposed exchange.
"I will not leave you on the battlefield Bowe," Robert Bergdahl said at the "Bring Bowe Home" event on June 22. "Your country will not leave you on the battlefield. You are not forgotten, you will not be forgotten."
It is believed that Bergdahl is being held in the mountains somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border by the Haqqani network, a heavily armed, organized and notoriously dangerous wing of the Taliban.
A private first class at the time of his capture, Bergdahl was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, before deploying to Afghanistan. He was promoted to specialist while in captivity.
The International Security Assistance Force sent its thoughts and prayers to Bergdahl's family and friends.
"Four years later, we are still waiting for Sgt. Bergdahl's safe return, and it is my sincere hope that the wait will soon come to an end." Said ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph F. Dunford in a statement. "To Sgt. Bergdahl's family, I want to say that we know you have not given up hope, and neither have we."
ABC News' attempts to reach Bergdahl's parents today were not immediately successful.