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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/5/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

TIME interview looks behind the trade

While the prisoner exchange of prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban officials has started to receive some fire from politicians and veterans, TIME has received a behind the scenes look at the event from the perspective of the Taliban, courtesy of a Taliban commander who seems to be intimately familiar with Bergdahl and his captivity.

The exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban officials has inspired the organization to kidnap more victims.

The exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban officials has inspired the organization to kidnap more victims.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/5/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Bergdahl, US, News


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Taliban thought long and hard about how they wanted the trade to be viewed by the outside world, a videographer was assigned to cover the event, and a custom tailored white tunic and set of trousers where given to Bergdahl as a sign of respect. Those clothes, and a woven scarf where given to Berdgdahl in order to show him that the Taliban considered him a friend and harbored no ill will.

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"You know we are also human beings and have hearts in our bodies," said the Taliban commander. "We are fighting a war against each other, in which [Americans] kill us and we kill them. But we did whatever we could to make [Bergdahl] happy."

Bergdahl learned basic Pashto during his time as a POW and had made several friends among his captors. "We wanted him to return home with good memories," said the commander.

Another senior Taliban commander, higher in the chain of command with the Taliban in Afghanistan, described to TIME the celebrations that revolved from the trade.

"I cannot explain how our people are happy and excited over this unbelievable achievement. This is a historic moment for us. Today our enemy for the first time officially recognized our status."

"Besides our field commanders and fighters, our leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is so happy and is anxiously waiting to see his heroes," he said, referencing the five Taliban leaders who were traded for Bergdahl.

The exchange apparently has inspired the Taliban to kidnap others according to the commander. "It's better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird."

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