by GREGORY FOLEY
An exchange of Taliban prisoners for captured U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appears less likely today than it was last year.
The New York Times reported on Oct. 2 that hopes for peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban militants, once aimed at ending the 11-year war, have been abandoned.
Peace talks were set last year to take place in Qatar, but abandoned in March by Taliban leaders.
“Military and diplomatic officials here (in Afghanistan) and in Washington said that despite attempts to engage directly with Taliban leaders this year, they now expect that any significant progress will come only after 2014, once the bulk of NATO troops have left,” the Times reported.
According to the Times, almost all of the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan are scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2014.
"‘I don't see it (peace talks) happening in the next couple years,’ said a senior coalition officer. He and a number of other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the effort to open talks,” reported the Times.
Do Salute, a veterans and soldiers program based in Wisconsin, has gathered more than 400,000 signatures on a petition to raise awareness of Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan on June 6, 2009. Bergdahl’s parents live in Hailey.
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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.