Taliban Releases Bowe Bergdahl, Captured U.S. Soldier, In Exchange For Five Guantanamo Bay Prisoners

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    U.S. Army Private Bowe Bergdahl watches as one of his captors display his identity tag to the camera at an unknown location in Afghanistan in this July 19, 2009 file still image taken from video.
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    Sergeant Bergdahl, freed by the Taliban, is to be treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
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    Undated image from video footage taken from a Taliban-affiliated website shows a man who says he is Private First Class Bowe R. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier captured by the Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan in late June. The Afghan Taliban said on December 25, 2009 that they had issued a new video tape of Bergdahl and added that in it he asks his government to take part in a prisoner exchange deal.
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Officials say U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been released after spending nearly five years in captivity by the Taliban in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The exchange was mediated by the Qatari government, Associated Press reports. Bergdahl was captured after reportedly walking away from his base in Paktika province near the Pakistani border. Unconfirmed emails between Bergdahl and his parents show he became disillusioned with his service and the mission in Afghanistan prior to be captured.

President Obama released this statement:

Later, Obama issued a statement in the Rose Garden:

Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

The U.S. government has not released the names of the detainees exchanged for Bowe. The Taliban requested the release of at least 21 detainees in the past, including Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who was sentenced to 86 years in prison on terrorist charges.

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