A senior Taliban commander familiar with the negotiations to exchange Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the ‘Taliban 5’ said Thursday that Americans are now a high value target for kidnapping, especially now that such a tremendous incentive has been established.
The commander told TIME Thursday, “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”
TIME reiterated that the newly energized Taliban commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity is a very reliable source and he has been in contact with TIME for many years.
On May 31, the Obama administration secured a deal that brought Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl out of Taliban captivity for the ‘Taliban 5,’ known as some of the most senior commanders for the militant Islamist group and collectively responsible for murdering thousands of innocents.
Many of Bergdahl’s comrades in theater said after he left his forward operating base under mysterious conditions in 2009 that he was either a deserter or a traitor with sympathies to the Taliban.
Because of Bergdahl’s possible desertion, six US military personnel died on missions related to finding him: 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, and PFC Matthew Michael Martinek.
Even after troubling evidence of Bergdahl’s actions in theater had been abundantly clear, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on the Sunday television circuit that Sgt. Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.”