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Taliban says it suspends talks on held U.S. soldier

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Afghanistan's Taliban said Sunday it had suspended "mediation" with the United States to exchange Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, halting — at least temporarily — what was considered the best chance yet of securing the 27-year-old soldier's freedom since his capture in 2009.

In a terse Pashto language statement emailed to the Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid blamed the "current complex political situation in the country" for the suspension.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the talks said the cause of the suspension was not the result of any issue between the United States and the Taliban. He declined to elaborate and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was last seen in a video released in December, footage seen as "proof of life" demanded by the United States. He is believed to be held in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghan soldiers killed: Hundreds of heavily armed Taliban insurgents attacked army checkpoints in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, killing 21 soldiers. The Taliban has escalated attacks in recent months as it tries to take advantage of the withdrawal of foreign troops at the end of 2014.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured in 2009 and was to be traded for Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured in 2009 and was to be traded for Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo.

Taliban says it suspends talks on held U.S. soldier 02/23/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 1:06am]
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