A TIME article published Thursday morning goes behind the scenes of the prisoner swap that brought Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl back from Afghanistan last week in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners. The story includes conversations with two “senior Taliban commander[s]” who discussed their relationship with Bergdahl.
One commander, who is affiliated with the Haqqani network which held Berdgahl captive, said the Taliban “did whatever [they] could to make [Bergdahl] happy” and “wanted him to return home with good memories.” The commander also claimed the tunic set Bergdahl wore at his release was “a parting gift designed to demonstrate no ill will.”
According to these men, the mood looks bright among Taliban members, who believe the negotiation worked in their favour.
The second Taliban commander, also unnamed, said he “cannot explain how our people are happy and excited over this unbelievable achievement. Today our enemy for the first time recognised our status.” He also said it would encourage the Taliban to “work hard” to find more valuable captives due to the group’s joy at seeing the five former prisoners freed.
“Besides our field commanders and fighters, our leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is so happy and is anxiously waiting to see his heroes,” he said.
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