Friday, July 1, 2011

Bergdahl’s parents pray for peace

Event marks 2 years since Bowe Bergdahl was captured


Hailey Mayor Rick Davis reads a statement prepared by Robert and Jani Bergdahl to friends and supporters of Bowe Bergdahl on Thursday. Photo by David N. Seelig

About 120 people showed up at Zaney's Café in Hailey Thursday afternoon to mark the two-year point since Sgt. Bowe Berghdal was captured by Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Mayor Rick Davis read a prepared statement from the Bergdahl family thanking the community for the many signs of support it has shown them since their son was captured. After the speech, people spoke with one another and shared their feelings about Bergdahl, a Hailey-area native. Some took yellow ribbons to be tied on trees around town, a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the captive soldier.

"We have not forgotten Bowe and we have not forgotten every single act of your support to bring Bowe back with honor. This is our mission," the Bergdahls wrote. "Please continue with us in this ordeal by remembering all those suffering the consequences of this war and praying that peace may come to Afghanistan."

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The independent website iCasualties.org reports that 2,562 coalition forces soldiers from 20 countries have died since the war in Afghanistan began 10 years ago. The website reports that 1,648 of those deaths were from the U.S. military.

According to data from coalition military forces, released by Wikileaks last year to the U.K Guardian Newspaper, 24,489 Afghans died in the conflict from 2004 to 2009. On June 11, the United Nations reported 2,950 civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the past three months, a 20 percent increase over the same period in 2010.

Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard, spokesman for the family, said the Bergdahl family was encouraged to learn Wednesday that two French journalists, Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, were freed by the Taliban after 18 months in captivity.

The New York Times reported yesterday that a Taliban leader said the two journalists were released because the French government had accepted the Taliban's conditions. The French government made no comment.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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