U.S. Soldier Held Hostage by Taliban for Five Years Is Freed in Guantanamo Prisoner Exchange

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 1 2014 11:14 AM

U.S. Soldier Held Hostage by Taliban for Five Years Is Freed in Guantanamo Prisoner Exchange

rtr3rnrq
President Obama stands with Bob Bergdahl (R) and Jami Bergdahl (L) as he delivers a statement about the release of their son.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Obama announced on Saturday Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held hostage for nearly five years by the Taliban, had been released. Bergdahl, who was the only remaining U.S. soldier captured during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, was taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan in June 2009 and his release was secured in exchange for five prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay.

On Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel responded to questions over why the operation was kept secret from Congress saying the U.S. had to move quickly to secure Bergdahl because of his deteriorating health. "This was essentially an operation to save the life of Sgt. Bergdahl," Hagel told NBC News’ Meet the Press. “The Pentagon did not give Congress the required 30-day notice for the release of detainees to the dismay of some lawmakers,” according to NBC News.

Advertisement

Here’s more on how the recovery of Bergdahl took place via ABC News:

At about 10:30 a.m. ET, U.S. special forces recovered Bergdahl from his captors, in a peaceful handoff in eastern Afghanistan, a senior Defense official told ABC News, recounting the operation. About 18 Taliban were present. The U.S. forces flew to the meeting in helicopters, and once Bergdahl was aboard, he wrote on a paper plate (instead of talking over the noise of the rotors), “SF?” meaning, “Special Forces?”
The operators sitting with Bergdahl responded loudly, saying, “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.” Bergdahl broke down crying, the Defense official said.

The prisoner exchange was negotiated through local Qatari government representatives. The five prisoners in Guantanamo are reported to be in the process of being transferred to Qatar.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 9:03 AM My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.