Taliban militants in Afghanistan released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last Saturday after five years of captivity in exchange for the release of five detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
Bergdahl was released to U.S. Special Operations Forces in a Qatar-brokered swap for Afghan Taliban detainees who will be sent to Qatar. Bergdahl was the only American prisoner of war.
U.S. officials said the deal with the Taliban will lead to broader dialogue with the insurgent group, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the U.S. slowly withdraws forces from Afghanistan.
American troops in Afghanistan are slated to be reduced to less than 10,000 by the end of 2014. Some 32,000 troops still remain in the country.
“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,” President Barack Obama said in a White House statement.
Obama thanked the Emir of Qatar for his work on getting Bergdahl released.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel signed an order for the release of the five Afghan detainees, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The American soldier was ushered onto a helicopter without incident or violence, according to an unnamed senior defense official.
He reportedly wrote “SF?” on a paper plate once aboard the helicopter, asking if he was being rescued by special forces. The defense official said they responded, “yes, we’ve been looking for you a long time.” Bergdahl then broke down crying, according to Time.
Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was 23 went he disappeared on June 30, 2009 in the Paktika Province near the border with Pakistan. He is currently being held under the care of American doctors at a U.S. forward operating base until he is cleared for further travel, when he will be transferred to Bagram Airfield.
The five Afghan prisoners are Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq, an administration official confirmed, according to Time.
By: End The Lie