Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon E Panetta has said American officials are doing everything possible to secure the release a US soldier who is being held captive by Afghan insurgents.
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 and is being held by the Haqqani militant network somewhere in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Panetta’s comments came in a day after Bergdahl’s parents expressed frustration over the Obama administration’s inability to free their son.
“We share the concerns about Bergdahl and the importance of getting him returned. And we’re doing everything possible to try to see if we can make that happen,” The Los Angeles Times quoted Panetta, as saying.
When probed about reports that US negotiators have considered swapping five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl, Panetta said he would agree to such an exchange ‘only if it met US law’, which reportedly requires him to ensure that all detainees released from Guantanamo won’t return to the battlefield.
"Frankly, there are no decisions that have been made with regards to that," Panetta added.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey claimed that a poster of the captive sergeant hangs at the US Central Command`s operations centre as a reminder that he is still missing.
“I can assure you that we are doing everything in our power, using our intelligence resources across the government, to try to find, locate him,” he added.