WASHINGTON: The sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan was flown to a US military hospital in Germany yesterday after being freed in a swap deal for five Taliban militants who were released from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been held for nearly five years and his release, following years of on-off negotiations, suddenly became possible after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban shifted course and agreed to back it, US officials said.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said he hoped the exchange might lead to breakthroughs in reconciliation with the militants and rejected accusations from some Republicans it resulted from negotiations with terrorists.
“As I said and explained before, Sergeant Bergdahl was a prisoner of war. That’s a normal process in getting your prisoners back.”
Bergdahl, 28, was handed over at about 6pm local time on Saturday to US forces who had flown in by helicopter. REUTERS