Taliban offers to free US soldier

5:21 AM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The Afghan Taliban say they are ready to hand over a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

A Taliban spokesman, Shaheen Suhail, says U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "is as far as I know in good condition."

Suhail spoke in an exclusive telephone interview with The Associated Press from the newly opened Taliban offices in Doha, Qatar.

Bergdahl disappeared in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

Shaheen says "first has to be the release of detainees," and after that, the Taliban "want to build bridges of confidence."

He offered no details on Bergdahl's current whereabouts.

He spoke as the U.S. is scrambling to save talks with the Taliban after angry complaints from President Hamid Karzai.

KATHY GANNON, Associated Press

Associated Press

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