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Parents of U.S. soldier held in Afghanistan urge talks

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The parents of Bowe Bergdahl, the first American soldier captured in Afghanistan since the US-led war began in 2001, are urging the US government to swap him for Afghan prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, US media reported.

“Everybody is frustrated with how slowly the process has evolved,” Bob Bergdahl, the soldier’s father, told the Idaho Mountain Express.

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“I’m pushing it hard. We started out by trying to encourage the Taliban to take care of our son. … Now, we’re worried that the government isn’t concerned enough to put him on the (negotiating) table,” the father stressed.

Within hours of that report, President Barack Obama’s administration had rare public words on the case, saying it was hard at work on locating and freeing the US soldier, using whatever that might take.

“I wouldn’t rule anything in or out,” said Colonel Dave Lapan, director of the Defense Department press office.

Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. He said in a video that he was captured when he fell behind his unit in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has released several videos showing him to be alive.

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Efforts to secure his release have been sustained, the US reports said.

“Late last year, State Department negotiators put together a tentative deal in which five Taliban prisoners would be transferred from Cuba to house arrest in Qatar, where their families could join them. Bergdahl was to be released after the first two insurgents arrived,” The Washington Post reported.

“But the deal fell apart, and US-Taliban peace talks have been stalled since January,” it said.

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“The Washington Post had withheld information on the Bergdahl aspect of the negotiations since last year at the request of White House officials, who said publicizing them could endanger his life,” the Post added, saying the prisoner was believed to be alive and fairly fit.

Meanwhile The New York Times spoke with the parents in Idaho this week.

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The soldier’s father told the Times “he was frustrated by the lack of progress on the talks, which he believes are stalled because the Obama administration is reacting to pressure from Congress in an election year not to negotiate with terrorists.”

“We don’t have faith in the US government being able to reconcile this,” the father told The Times.


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Giuliani pummeled by ex-press secretary for ‘returning to the scene of the crime’ to create Ukraine chaos

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On CNN Saturday, Rudy Giuliani's former mayoral press secretary Ken Frydman harshly criticized his former boss for his ongoing efforts in the Ukraine scheme.

"As you've watched the former mayor over the last several years, have you identified a point at which things shifted for the man who I guess still is for some known at America's Mayor?" asked anchor Victor Blackwell."

"Well, yeah. I think when he went into business with Donald Trump," said Frydman. "You saw a — a severe change in his personality. He had a zealous need to make money, to be relevant. To be part of the political process. And you know right now he's making, I think, ill-advised decisions, like returning to the scene of the crime, Ukraine, to make a propagandist documentary. Almost as if he's playing, he and the president, are playing, 'catch me if you can.' The president will not participate in the impeachment hearings, and Rudy is off in the Ukraine doubling down."

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‘Unbelievable’: Ex-Trump official stunned president is still letting Giuliani run around unchecked in Ukraine

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In a Washington Post report on the continuing attempts by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to dig up dirt on political opponents -- at the same time that President Donald Trump is facing impeachment for pressuring Ukraine with the promise of aid for the same -- a former Trump administration official expressed shock that Giuliani hasn't been told to stop.

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‘Hell no’: Texans join forces to stop Trump from stealing their land

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President Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico has been a huge winner with his base. But there is one group of people who are not happy: the Texans who actually live in the region where the wall would be built.

According to the Washington Post, many people in the region have no intention of letting the federal government seize their land to construct the wall, like Afghanistan war veteran Salvador Castillo of Brownsville, who received a letter from officials demanding unlimited access to and use of his land, which gradually escalated into a lawsuit.

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