Taliban-held U.S. soldier released in exchange for Afghan detainees...
Taliban fighters released the sole remaining American military hostage Saturday morning to a team of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, who quickly hustled him onto a helicopter. Once airborne, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl scribbled the letters “SF?” on a paper plate, seeking confirmation that he was with Special Operations forces.
“Yes!” one of the troops hollered back above the din of the aircraft’s blades, according to a defense official who described Bergdahl’s first moments of freedom. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”
Bergdahl, 28, who had been held captive nearly five years, broke down in tears.
His release was secured after the Obama administration, working through Qatari government intermediaries, agreed to free five high-profile Afghan inmates held by the U.S. military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The influential commanders, including the former head of the Taliban’s army, were loaded onto a U.S. military aircraft bound for Qatar after U.S. officials got confirmation that Bergdahl had been freed.
Bergdahl’s “safety and health were both in jeopardy,” and officials had to act quickly to obtain his release, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday, according to the Associated Press.