[guest post by Dana]
The Military Times is reporting that according to a top congressional aide, the deal to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the five Taliban detainees nixed a wider effort by the Department of Defense to include other U.S. citizens held by the Taliban and its allies.
The Department of Defense had a “broader goal” of including Caitlan Coleman of York , Pa., her baby who was born in captivity and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, in a deal to free Bergdahl, said Joe Kasper, chief of staff to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.
Among Americans held captive is Warren Weinstein, a contractor from Rockville, Md., who was abducted in 2011 in Pakistan and is detained by al-Qaida militants aligned with the Taliban.
“The DoD was looking at this in the whole scope of things, to deal with these people as well,” Kasper said. “Instead of five for one, why not five for five?”
“I don’t know how far they’d gotten in pursuing this broader goal,” Kasper said.
n a June 2 letter to President Obama, Hunter said the Defense Department plan, which Hunter said did not have time to materialize before negotiations headed by the State Department gained Bergdahl’s release, did not include a prisoner exchange.
“Now a situation has been created whereby prisoner exchanges – specifically disproportionate exchanges – are viewed by the Taliban and other aligned forces as achievable,” Hunter said.
As a reminder, Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman claimed that the deal for Bergdahl’s release “was the best, probably last chance to get him home.”
Bergdahl’s release has resulted in renewed pleas from the families of other U.S. detainees in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and Cuba questioning why their loved ones’ freedom has not yet been secured as well.