US soldier freed from captivity in Afghanistan after five yearsSaturday 31 May 2014 23.23
An American army sergeant has been freed from the Taliban after nearly five years in captivity in Afghanistan.
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in return for
five Taliban detainees at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of Qatar.
Mr Bergdahl's freedom follows months of indirect US-Taliban talks with Qatar acting as intermediary, the officials said.
US special operations forces took custody of Mr Bergdahl in a non-violent exchange in eastern Afghanistan, he was believed to be in good health.
Mr Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was the only known missing soldier in the Afghan war.
He was captured under unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan by militants on 30 June 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.
President 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."
He continued: "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."
Mr Obama thanked Qatar for its role in Mr Bergdahl's release, as well as the Afghan government.