U.S. soldier flies to freedom after Afghan prisoner swap
Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 01:46
June 1 - The sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany, after he was dramatically freed in a prisoner swap for five Taliban militants held in Guantanamo, Cuba. Mana Rabiee reports.
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After nearly five long years, the dramatic release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl happened near here.
In the hills of eastern Afghanistan on the Pakistan border.
The sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan was freed Saturday by U.S. special forces, in a prisoner swap for five Taliban militants held in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Once on board an American chopper, Bergdahl wrote a two-letter question: "S.F.?", meaning "Special Forces?"
"Yes, one of the special forces replied, "We've been looking for you for a long time."
That's when Bergdahl broke down crying.
His ordeal was finally over.
Bergdahl's freedom suddenly became possible, U.S. officials said, after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban shifted course in recent weeks, and agreed to back his release.
This, after years of on again/off again talks between the U.S. and Taliban.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking to reporters on Sunday:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL SAYING:
"First, our primary focus, as you all know, was getting Sergeant Bergdahl back and we've done that, and as I said, as President Obama said, as the result of the help of a lot of people and so that's our first focus. Whether that could lead to possible new breakthroughs with the Taliban? I don't know. Hopefully it might."
Bergdahl was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
The 28-year-old will receive treatment and be transferred to another military medical facility in Texas.
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