American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl freed from captivity in Afghanistan

The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is back in U.S. custody after nearly five years of captivity, U.S. officials

FILE - This undated image provided by the

FILE - This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. U.S. officials say the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is in U.S. custody. The officials say Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's (boh BURG'-dahl) release was part of a negotiation that includes the release of five Afghan detainees held in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP Photo/U.S. Army) (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON - (AP) -- The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is back in U.S. custody after nearly five years of captivity, U.S. officials said Saturday.

The officials said the Taliban agreed to turn over Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The transfers happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the government of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans.

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."

Officials said the Taliban turned the 28-year-old Bergdahl over Saturday evening, local time, in Afghanistan. Several dozen U.S. special forces were involved in the exchange, which took place in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.

Officials described the transfer as a nonviolent handover between the American forces and about 18 Taliban.

Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity in order to describe the details of his release.

Bergdahl is expected to be transferred to Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, then on to the United States.

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

The Haqqani 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.

The five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo were still at the base as of Saturday morning, but were being transferred into the custody of Qatari officials. Under the conditions of their release, the detainees will be banned from traveling outside of Qatar for at least one year.

Officials said Obama spoke with Bergdahl's parents Saturday, shortly after their son had been taken into U.S. custody. Bergdahl's family was in Washington on a previously scheduled visit when they received the news.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

News 12 Brooklyn asked residents what they think 1 Word on the Street: Amazon Go
The 25-year-old had just recently started work at 2 Police look to question ex-boyfriend in death of correction officer
News 12 viewers take to Facebook to address 3 The Buzz: Bushwick mail problems
Construction crews are making repairs to a sinkhole 4 Officials: Water leak to blame for 23rd Street sinkhole
Some Bushwick residents say they have not been 5 Bushwick residents without regular mail service for months

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Furry Friends is a weekly segment on News Furry Friends

Furry Friends is a weekly segment on News 12 Brooklyn nightside.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE