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ISLAMABAD -- A senior member of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network says a Hailey, Idaho, soldier held by Afghan militants will not be harmed despite the Obama administration's decision to declare his alleged captors a terrorist group.

The commander who spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday from an undisclosed location on the condition of anonymity said harming prisoners is cowardly.

From his home in Idaho, 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's father Bob welcomed the assurances but was cautious, saying he'll have to verify the information.

The commander denied that the Haqqanis held the only American prisoner of war of the Afghan conflict as the U.S. believes, saying Bergdahl is a captive of another branch of the Taliban. He also warned that the U.S. and NATO can expect stepped up attacks after the terror designation.

The U.S. says that Bergdahl has been held by the Haqqanis since 2009.

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