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Only American POW in Afghanistan freed today in Taliban exchange

Published: Sat, May 31, 2014 @ 5:52 p.m.


The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban Saturday evening, local time, in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. Officials said the exchange was not violent and the 28-year-old Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said Bergdahl's recovery "is a reminder of America's unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield."

The White House says the president will deliver a statement from the Rose Garden at 6:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

The handover followed indirect negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban, with the government of Qatar serving as the go-between. Qatar is taking custody of the five Afghan detainees who were held at Guantanamo.

According to a senior defense official traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Singapore, once Bergdahl climbed onto the noisy helicopter he took a pen and wrote on a paper plate, the "SF?" - asking the troops if they were special operations forces.

They shouted back at him over the roar of the rotors: "Yes, we've been looking for you for a long time."

Then, according to the official, Bergdahl broke down.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, is believed to have been held by the Haqqani network since June 30, 2009. Haqqani operates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and has been one of the deadliest threats to U.S. troops in the war.

The network, which the State Department designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012, claims allegiance to the Afghan Taliban, yet operates with some degree of autonomy.

Officials said Bergdahl was transferred to Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, for medical evaluations. A defense official said he would be sent to Germany for additional care before eventually returning to the United States.

The defense official said Bergdhal was tentatively scheduled to go to the San Antonio Military Medical Center where he would be reunited with his family. The military was working Saturday to connect Bergdahl with his family over the telephone or by video conference.


1topper11(131 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Just turn on Fox . Someone on their morning show called him a deserter .

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2topper11(131 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Two Republican lawmakers, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said Obama violated U.S. law when he approved an exchange involving prisoners at Guantanamo without notifying Congress 30 days in advance
They think it would be better for him to die .

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3judimcbry(11 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

He WAS a deserter. From day one it has been known that he mailed home most of his personal belongings (you don't do that mid-deployment), talked about hiking to China, asked pointed questions to those he served with as to what would happen if he left, and in the middle of the night left the OP with a canteen his journal and none of his military items. Are you aware that 6 Soldiers from his Btln lost their lives during the initial searches for him? That supplies were diverted leaving other areas without? That other OPs were put on a hold status? That re-deployments were delayed? That Keating was overrun during this time (another 8 lives lost) because everything was being diverted to search for him?
All of this has been well known in military circles since it happened, especially in the Infantry companies. The media just chose to gloss over it. Don't believe me? Go read the Rolling Stone article from 2012, 2 years ago. His own parents admitted he had a distorted view, that he sent incendiary email, that he sent home his personal belongings. It was a PREMEDITATED DESERTION and not only is he responsible for those lives already lost, he will be responsible for the lives taken by the 5 very high profile murderers just released for him.

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4judimcbry(11 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

and in addition.... The timing.... Anyone else notice that no one is talking about the VA right now? Or the WH press secretary's departure?

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5Donjulio1032(3 comments)posted 3 months, 1 week ago

I had the opportunity recently to talk a real American hero, a Ranger who has served for several years now in both Afghanistan and Iraq. When I asked about Bergdahl he stiffened up and said he should be court marshaled. He said he spent a great deal of time searching for him, when he showed Bergdahl's picture to villagers they responded that he walked into the village and 'asked' for the Taliban. The ranger went on to say that 6 American soldiers including 2 from Bergdahl's own unit were killed searching for him. The ranger said his unit was attacked while following up on Taliban leaks about his location. We gave up 5 dangerous terrorists for this man setting a precedent for future abductions by the Taliban and other such groups. It doesn't matter whether you are left or right on this issue we all lose.

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