The father of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said in a 2010 speech that one of his son’s Taliban captors lost his own son in a drone strike launched by the United States.
"The man who we believe holds Bowe grew up on the lap of his mother learning the Koran. He is a powerful man," Robert Bergdahl said, according to a report Friday by The Daily Beast. "We pray for him. He recently lost a son to a CIA missile drone strike. The fact that he didn't kill Bowe right then is incredible. So we pray for him."
The elder Bergdahl was speaking to an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser that included other speakers such as Sen. Jim Risch (Idaho) and then-Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
In a YouTube video Bergdahl posted in May 2011, Bergdahl spoke directly to his son’s captors.
"No family in the United States understands the detainee issue like ours," Bergdahl said. "Our son's safe return will only heighten public awareness of this. That said, our son is being exploited. It's past time for Bowe, and the others, to come home."
Five Taliban prisoners were released from Guantanamo Bay last weekend in exchange for his son, which has stirred tensions between the White House and Congress over terms and timing of the release.
Just days before there was any news of the swap, Bergdahl tweeted at a Taliban spokesman, “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!” He later deleted the tweet.
The father worked to bring his son home, teaching himself languages of the Afghan-Pakistan region, Pashto and Urdu. He also grew out his beard since his son disappeared in June 2009.
Bergdahl said at the GOP fundraiser that the Pentagon reassured him his son’s safety was the top priority.
"Everything that can be done has been done. I have [then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral [Mike] Mullen's cell phone number on me right now."