Footage released by the Taliban allegedly showing the handover at the weekend of their captive US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to the American military near the Afghan border with Pakistan. It ends with the caption: ‘Don’ [sic] come back to afghanistan [sic].’ The handover was made in exchange for five militants held at Guantánamo Bay. Bergdahl, 28, is now in a military hospital in Germany, undergoing physical and mental assessments.
(CNN) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier held captive for nearly five years by militants during the Afghanistan war, has been released in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees, authorities said Saturday.
“Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl,” the White House said in a statement.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a separate statement that he had informed Congress of the decision to transfer five detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar.
“A few hours ago, the family of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was informed by President Obama that their long wait for his return will soon be over,” Hagel said.
“Sgt. Bergdahl is now under the care of the U.S. military after being handed over by his captors in Afghanistan. We will give him all the support he needs to help him recover from this ordeal, and we are grateful that he will soon be reunited with his family.”
A statement from Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Jani, said: “We were so joyful and relieved when President Obama called us today to give us the news that Bowe is finally coming home! We cannot wait to wrap our arms around our only son. We want to thank Bowe’s many supporters in Idaho, around the nation and around the world. We thank the Amir of Qatar for his efforts. And of course, we want to take this opportunity to thank all those in the many U.S. Government agencies who never gave up. Today, we are ecstatic!”
A senior Defense official told CNN that the U.S. military recovered Bergdahl from his captors around 10:30 a.m. ET in a peaceful handover in eastern Afghanistan. U.S. special operations forces conducted the mission. There were 18 Taliban members present.
Obama Announces Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Release