U.S. soldier freed after almost five years in captivity in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan, has been released and is now in U.S. custody, President Barack Obama said on Saturday.
As part of Bergdahl's release, the United States is turning over five Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of Qatar, U.S. officials said.
Bergdahl's freedom follows months of indirect U.S.-Taliban talks with Qatar acting as intermediary, the officials said.
U.S. special operations forces took custody of Bergdahl in a non-violent exchange in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said, adding that he was believed to be in good condition. He was now undergoing a medical examination in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was the only known missing soldier in the Afghan war. He was captured under unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan by militants on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.
"Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years," Obama said in a statement.
"On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal."
Obama thanked Qatar for its role in Bergdahl's release, as well as the Afghan government.