US soldier freed in Taliban prisoner swap

Qatar brokers deal to swap five Afghans held in Guantanamo Bay for Bowe Bergdahl, held in Afghanistan for five years.

The only US soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed as part of a swap deal brokered by the government of Qatar.

Bowe Bergdahl’s release was part of a negotiation that included the release of five Afghan prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, statements from the US government said.

The negotiation between the US and the Taliban was mediated by the government of Qatar, with the US president thanking the state’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, for his commitment.

The 28-year-old Bergdahl, a sergeant in the US army, had been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was handed to US troops by the Taliban on Saturday evening in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

Officials said the exchange was not violent and Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.

The Taliban prisoners were to be handed over to authorities in Qatar.

In a statement the US president, Barack Obama, said: “Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years.

“On behalf of the American people, I was honoured to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal.

“For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier’s return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Emir of Qatar.

“The Emir’s personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries.”






Source : Al jazeera

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