The only American solider 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."
"Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America's past wars," Mr. Obama said.
The president thanked the Amir of Qatar for negotiating Bergdahl's release.
"The Amir's personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries," Mr. Obama said. "The United States is also grateful for the support of the Government of Afghanistan throughout our efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl's release."
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.
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.