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News updated at 10:44 AM IST

Abducted US soldier safe, says Haqqani

ISLAMABAD, Sep 9, 2012, AP: 23:42 IST
A US soldier held by Afghan militants will not be harmed despite the Obama administration’s decision to declare his alleged captors a terrorist group, a senior member of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network said on Saturday.

However, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) forces can expect stepped up attacks, he said.

The commander, who spoke by telephone from an undisclosed location, denied that the Haqqanis held the only American prisoner of war of the Afghan conflict, Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, as the US believes.

He did, however, say that Bergdahl was a captive of another branch of the Taliban, and denied earlier reports that the 26-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was in danger.

“I deny the remarks . . . that this will endanger the life of the American soldier,” the commander said, speaking on condition he not be identified because field commanders fear being targeted if their identities are known. “We are not cowards and we consider it as coward to harm prisoners,” he said.

The US says that Bergdahl has been held by the Pakistan-based Haqqanis since 2009

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