WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sporadic negotiations and video releases from the Taliban marked the four years and 11 months that U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl was held captive.
Here is a timeline leading up to Bergdahl’s release on Saturday in Afghanistan:
* June 30 - After only two months in the country, Bergdahl, then a 23-year-old private, disappears under unclear circumstances in eastern Afghanistan.
* July 3 - The Defense Department classifies Bergdahl as “missing-captured.”
* July 18 - The Taliban releases a video showing Bergdahl and his ID tags.
* December - Two more videos of Bergdahl are released and in one of them, he says he is being treated humanely.
* April - Another video features Bergdahl calling for the release of Afghans held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba. More videos will be released in late 2010 and May 2011.
* December - Reuters reports the United States is considering transferring five Taliban members out of Guantanamo to push along peace talks. Among them is Mohammed Fazl, a senior Taliban commander, alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of Afghanistan’s minority Shi‘ite Muslims from 1998 to 2001. Fazl was among those handed over to Qatar when Bergdahl was released.
* May - Bergdahl’s parents express their frustrations by breaking a yearlong silence to say he is at the center of a proposed prisoner exchange with the Taliban.
* August - Reports say the Obama administration sweetens its deal for Bergdahl’s freedom by offering to send five Taliban militants to Qatar before Bergdahl’s release. In the end, however, the releases were nearly simultaneous.
* June - Talks on Bergdahl and negotiating an end to the 12-year war in Afghanistan stall. The Afghanistan government is concerned that the protocol surrounding the Taliban’s newly opened office in Qatar, called the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, gives the appearance of a Taliban government-in-exile.
* November - The Taliban shows interest in renewing talks regarding Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo.
* January - U.S. officials meet with the Qatari government to ensure they are still willing to take in the Taliban detainees. Qatar officials also provide the United States a recent video of Bergdahl to indicate he is still alive.
* Feb. 18 - The White House says it is trying to obtain Bergdahl’s release but is not in “active negotiations” with the Taliban.
* May 31 - President Barack Obama announces Bergdahl is free as part of an agreement that U.S. officials said was finalized in the previous week. After being handed over by the Taliban to U.S. special forces, Bergdahl is taken for medical evaluation.
Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Peter Cooney