US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan for five years, is being released in exchange for five Taliban prisoners being held in Gitmo, to be delivered to the government of Qatar.
The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released to American forces in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Obama administration officials said Saturday.
The soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was handed over to American Special Operations troops inside Afghanistan near the Pakistan border about 10:30 a.m. Saturday in a tense but uneventful exchange with 18 Taliban officials, American officials said. Moments later, Sergeant Bergdahl was whisked away by the helicopter-borne commandos, American officials said. He was found in good condition and able to walk.
The five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo, including two senior militant commanders said to be implicated in murdering thousands of Shiites in Afghanistan, were being transferred to the custody of officials from Qatar, who will accompany them back to that Persian Gulf state, where they will be subject to security restrictions, including a one-year travel ban.
President Obama spoke this evening at the White House Rose Garden to address the release, along with Bergdahl's parents, saying that Sgt. Bergdahl was "never forgotten" by the US. Bowe's father Robert had this to say on Twitter:
To every single person who worked so hard to make this recovery possible, WE LOVE YOU! GOD IS GREAT AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!
— Robert Bergdahl (@bobbergdahl) May 31, 2014
It's a good day for the Bergdahl family. A very good day indeed.