Somewhere in the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier, is being held captive by the Taliban.
The threat of execution hangs over him if the US does not agree to the still unspecified demands of his captors.
Bergdahl is the first US soldier captured in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion and the circumstances of his capture, which occurred around July 1 outside a US military base in Helmand Province, remain unclear.
But in the wake of years of revelations of abuses by US personnel of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib, and of alleged Taliban or al-Qaeda detainees elsewhere, the spectre of US troops in enemy hands is disturbing because of the possibility that they could face copy-cat treatment.
This is even more troubling when factoring in that US methods involved the use of water-boarding and numerous other "enhanced" interrogation techniques.
So far, it appears that private Berghdal has been unharmed and his Taliban captors have said they would treat him "with dignity."