News Middle East

Wednesday 17 September 2014

US soldier held captive by Taliban is freed

Published 01/06/2014 | 00:52

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The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed from Taliban captivity in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, US officials said yesterday.

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Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to US Special Forces by the Taliban last night, in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Officials said the exchange was not violent, the 28-year-old Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.

The handover followed secret and indirect negotiations between the US and the Taliban, with the government of Qatar serving as go-between. Qatar is taking custody of the five Afghanis that had been held at Guantanamo Bay.

Sgt Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, had been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He is thought to have been captured by members of the Haqqani network, which operates on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and has been one of the deadliest threats to US troops in the war

A billboard calling for the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan, is shown in this picture taken near Spokane, Washington. Bergdahl has been released and is now in U.S. custody  REUTERS/Jeff T. Green
A billboard calling for the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan, is shown in this picture taken near Spokane, Washington. Bergdahl has been released and is now in U.S. custody REUTERS/Jeff T. Green
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Jami Bergdahl to deliver a statement about the release of her son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. Bergdahl, the last U.S. prisoner of war from America's waning Afgan war, was handed over to U.S. Special Operations forces in Afghanistan on Saturday in a dramatic swap for five Taliban detainees who will be handed over from Guantanamo Bay prison to Qatar. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Jami Bergdahl to deliver a statement about the release of her son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. Bergdahl, the last U.S. prisoner of war from America's waning Afgan war, was handed over to U.S. Special Operations forces in Afghanistan on Saturday in a dramatic swap for five Taliban detainees who will be handed over from Guantanamo Bay prison to Qatar. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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