Parents say letter from captive U.S. soldier gives them hope

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 06, 2013 7:35 PM

By Laura Zuckerman

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - The Idaho parents of a U.S. soldier held prisoner by Taliban allies since 2009 said on Thursday they have received a letter from their son that gives them hope that he is well despite his captivity.

Bob Bergdahl, father of 27-year-old Bowe Bergdahl, said in a statement that he was confident the letter recently received through the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross was from his son.

"Our family is greatly relieved and encouraged by this letter, which gives us hope that Bowe is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances," he said.

Bergdahl asked the captors to free his son, who disappeared from his base in southern Afghanistan in June 2009 and is believed to be being held by Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan.

"We hope Bowe's captors will again consider his parents' plea to release him, but in the meantime, we ask that you please continue to keep him in good health and allow him to keep corresponding with us," Bergdahl said in the statement.

Colonel Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard, who acts as the family's media liaison, said all indications were that the handwritten letter was authentic. A copy was not made available to the press.

Marsano said the U.S. military was working toward the release of America's only prisoner of war

"We have not forgotten Bowe Bergdahl for one moment and we never will. Our goal is to get him safely returned back to the United States and to his parents," he said.

He said even though talk of Bergdahl's possible release through the efforts of U.S. negotiators has not been in the news of late "that does not mean the work has slowed down, even for a moment."

Bergdahl was stationed in Paktika province, a hotbed of militant activity, when he disappeared under unclear circumstances on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in Afghanistan.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)