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POLITICS: PennAve

White House: No 'active negotiations' with Taliban over Bowe Bergdahl

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Politics,White House,Afghanistan,National Security,PennAve,Guantanamo Bay,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Foreign Policy,Taliban,Bowe Bergdahl

The White House on Tuesday said there were no “active negotiations” with the Taliban to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009, but that the administration was open to discussing his release.

“We have long made clear that we support an Afghan-led process of negotiations and reconciliation with the Taliban. We are not involved in active negotiations with the Taliban,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

“If negotiations were to resume, we would certainly press the case of Sergeant Bergdahl,” he added. “In the meantime, we are actively engaged in an effort to see his return. I can't document every effort, but that includes our military, our intelligence and our diplomatic tools.”

Carney's remarks came after reports suggested that the Obama administration was weighing the release of some Guantanamo Bay detainees to secure Bergdahl's freedom.

A report in the Washington Post said the administration hoped to re-launch talks with the Taliban and was willing to hand over five Afghan Taliban detainees in exchange for the captive American.

“When it comes to Sergeant Bergdahl, our hearts go out to his family. We have great sympathy for them,” said Carney. “Sergeant Bergdahl has been gone for far too long. And we continue to call for his immediate release.

“We can't discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that we work every day, using our military, our intelligence and our diplomatic tools to see Sergeant Bergdahl return home safely,” he added.

Asked about the Washington Post report, Carney said only that he could would not “discuss all the details of our efforts.”

“With respect to Guantanamo, the president reiterated when he signed the fiscal year 2014 Defense Authorization Act that this administration will not transfer a detainee unless the threat the detainee may pose can be sufficiently mitigated, and only when consistent with our humane treatment policy,” said Carney.

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