BOISE -- News of Prisoner of War Bowe Bergdahl's possible release is inspiring cautious optimism from friends and supporters here in his home state of Idaho and around the nation. But, State Department officials are cautioning about too much optimism heading into possible negotiations with the Taliban.
Dwight Murphy, the spokesman for the Boise Valley POW/MIA and friend of the Bergdahls, is hopeful. What happened is we got new found hope.
He's hopeful that negotiations with the Taliban will finally bring home Sgt. Bergdahl. I'm going to think positive. I have the utmost faith and prayers that Bowe is coming home, said Murphy.
But, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reminded everyone that while the talks are planned, they haven't even started. The U.S. has a range of interests that we want to discuss with the Taliban, including the importance of renouncing terrorism and violence and certainly of issue of Sergeant Bergdahl, and the fact that he has been gone too long, will be a part of the discussion. And, as I said, we anticipate that the Taliban will also bring up, as they stated publicly, their own issues of detainees. But I don't want to get ahead of us where we're in the process given that we're planning the talks and we're looking forward to that, but they haven't commenced yet.
Meanwhile, on social media and in some political commentary, people have expressed misgivings on exchanging apparent terrorists for one of our soldiers. Mike Baker, a former CIA operative who spent years in Afghanistan, would have no problem with that. We don't leave people behind. We're not supposed to, anyway... If we can exchange those five individuals, and they disappear back into the ranks of the Taliban in Afghanistan, then so be it. But, if that means we get Bowe Bergdahl back, then that's a good exchange.
Idaho's entire congressional delegation released a statement, which said, Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bowe Bergdahl and his family. His safe return has always been of the utmost importance to us, and his well-being is something we raise with senior administration officials whenever possible. We are following recent potential developments about him very closely.
Idaho's senators and congressmen couldn't say much more on the issue for fear of derailing talks that were reportedly close to happening early last year.
Experts say even if the talks do result in Bowe's release, it could take months or years for that to happen.