Prisoner exchanges do happen in conflicts

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Prisoner swaps like the one being talked about for captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Haily do happen, even among nations resolutely opposed to terrorism.

In 2011, a single captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was exchanged for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were serving life sentences for terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Upon his return to Israel, the freed soldier, captured by Hamas in 2006, saluted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had long opposed such prisoner exchanges, saying they only embolden terrorists.

But ultimately Israel determined such a trade was worth the price, a similar decision the American government must now consider.
This wouldn't be the first time the Taliban has offered a prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, but in the past the efforts have all fallen through.

"This has been brought up before, the possibility of a prisoner exchange, or release," said Col. Tim Marsano with the Idaho National Guard, who is acting as media liaison for the Bergdahl family, "but in the past it has not come to fruition. We're hoping this time it actually does happen, and Bowe is returned safely to his family."

As Israel did with Hamas in 2011, the United States will certainly seek assurances from the Taliban that any prisoners released from Guantanamo will not fight again.

Both Israel and the United States have publicly stated they do not negotiate with terrorists.

But positions can change with the political wind.