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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 20th, 2013
06:50 PM ET

New hope for U.S. soldier held captive

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is the only known member of the U.S. military in captivity, the only American P.O.W. from the war in Afghanistan.

Now, after four years in Taliban hands, there is new hope Thursday that Bergdahl could finally be released, as the U.S. prepares to engage the Taliban in new peace talks.

In a video previously released by his captors, Bergdahl pleads to come home, saying to the camera, "Release me please I'm begging you. Bring me home. Bring us all home. Please. Please. Bring me home."

Bergdahl has just turned 27, but nearly four years of his short life have been spent in captivity, held by a group loosely affiliated with the Afghan Taliban.

The Idaho native was captured near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border after just two months on the battlefield. Since his capture only a few propaganda videos proving he is alive have trickled out. His family is suffering as it waits for news, their son's life hanging in the balance.

"Thanks to you, our POWs and MIAs are never forgotten and they never will be forgotten. Bowe, if you can hear me, you are not forgotten and so help me God you will come home, we will not leave you behind," father Robert Bergdahl said at a rally in May.

Bowe's father even appealed directly to his son's captors in a YouTube video. In the video Robert Bergdahl sports a long beard and learned phrases in Pashtun and Arabic to communicate directly.

"I personally appeal to General Kahini and General Passhi. Our family is counting on your professional integrity and honor for the safe return of our son," Robert Bergdahl says in the video.

New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller spoke to Bergdahl's family as their patience with the government's progress on bringing him home wore thin.

"They had become frustrated by the U.S. government, and felt the government was foot-dragging, and decided to speak out themselves," said Bumiller.

In e-mails to his family published by Rolling Stone magazine, Bergdahl made clear his disillusionment with the war before he disappeared. "The future is too good to waste on lies," he wrote to his parents in his final e-mail home.

"His first letters home, his e-mails home, were very positive. But then he said the emails became much darker," said Bumiller. "His son seemed to feel that the military was not this 'Peace Corps with guns' ideal that he held up."

Just this month his family received a different kind of letter, believed to be from their son delivered via the Red Cross.

"That brings new found hope. That's like sitting around a campfire that's going out, and all of a sudden you find that one more log," said Dwight Murphy, a family supporter.

Colonel Tim Marsano, a spokesman for the family, said they are encouraged by the news of possible negotiations, and that they know their son has not been forgotten.

In the meantime, the family and friends of Bowe Bergdahl wait. Word of negotiations brings renewed hope they can trade the yellow ribbons still hanging on their trees, for the son they represent.

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