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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.


1DSquared(1566 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Actually genius, your holiness ODumbo broke Federal law by doing this without Congressional notification. But this is the norm for an administration full of law breakers and thugs! Kinda like the Valley here!

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2topper11(537 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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3topper11(537 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months 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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4Donjulio1032(3 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months 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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