US soldier held captive by Taliban is freed
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.
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