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Only U.S. Soldier Held By Taliban Is Freed

A Taliban-affiliated website shows a man identified as Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier captured by the Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan in late June 2009.
U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the only U.S. soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan, has been freed as part of an exchange with the Taliban.

Several dozen members of U.S. Special Forces were involved in the exchange, which took place during the evening of May 31 in eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan.

Reports said 28-year-old Bergdahl, a native of Hailey, Idaho, was flown to the Bagram airbase outside Kabul to undergo a medical examination.

Officials described Bergdahl's condition as "good" and said he was able to walk.

Qatar was credited with mediating negotiations between the United States and Taliban that led to Bergdahl being released in exchange for the release of five Afghan Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Afghans will be handed over to authorities in Qatar.

Bergdahl has been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was captured some two months after he arrived in Afghanistan under conditions that are still unclear.

It is believed he was captured by the Haqqani terrorist network.

Bergdahl appeared in several videos released by the Taliban.

U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, were welcoming the news of Bergdahl's release.

In a statement, 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."

Obama said he had the honor to call Bergdahl's parents, who were in Washington for the recent Memorial Day commemorations, to tell them the news their son was free and tell them they could expect Bergdahl's safe return soon.

Bergdahl's parents released a statement saying they were "joyful and relieved" at the news and were anxiously awaiting a reunion with their son.

Obama also expressed his "deepest appreciation" to the emir of Qatar for his efforts in securing Bergdahl's release.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP