Battleland

Bowe Bergdahl: Born in Idaho, a Prisoner of War in Afghanistan

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Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

Robert and Jani Bergdahl, parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in Hailey, Idaho, May 12, 2012. Bowe Bergdahl is America's only known current prisoner of war.

In this week’s issue of TIME, Aryn Baker and Nate Rawlings report on the attempts to win freedom for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban since mid-2009. His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, have been keeping a quiet but anxious vigil for him in their hometown of Hailey, Idaho.

Now, Bob Bergdahl is speaking out on their ordeal, what the family knows of Bowe’s situation and why it is urgent that talks between the U.S. and the Taliban continue for his release. As Baker and Rawlings write, the situation has been aggravated by “a recent split in the Taliban movement that, in a cruel twist, was precipitated by the very negotiations that were meant to secure the release of their son.” The story cites Taliban sources on Bowe Bergdahl’s condition—and the consequences of an escape attempt last fall.

In the magazine and on TIME.com, Rawlings reports on the town of Hailey and how its residents are pulling for the Bergdahls. Rawlings describes his visit to Hailey and meeting with Bob Bergdahl in a TIME.com videoClearly, the people of Hailey consider Bowe Bergdahl a Prisoner of Warbut the Pentagon does not officially classify him that way. Mark Thompson explains why in a post in our Battleland blog. The military, however, has a strong tradition of leaving no soldier behind. Rawlings, a former U.S. Army Captain, describes his unsuccessful 2006 search for the missing Army Specialist Matt Maupin in Iraq—and how the soldier’s remains were finally found two years later.

PHOTOS: America’s Last Living POW: Christopher Morris Photographs a Family in Waiting

MORE: Waiting for Bowe: America’s Last Captured Soldier

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