U.S. soldier held captive by Taliban released in exchange for five Afghan detainees
(CNN)-- Bowe Bergdahl, the only remaining U.S. soldier captured during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, was recovered by U.S. special operations forces without incident at a "pick-up" point in eastern Afghanistan, a senior Department of Defense official says. There were 18 armed Taliban members present. In exchange for Bergdahl's release, five detainees at Guantanamo Bay will be released to Qatar, authorities said. The United States has "appropriate assurances" that Qatar will be able to secure the detainees there, where they are under a travel ban for a year. This deal has raised questions with members of congress. The United States has long declared that it won't negotiate with groups linked to terrorists, but analysts have said the United States has effectively maneuvered around the edges of that declaration over the years. Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former POW, in a statement called the released detainees "hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands." A senior administration official said, "With regard to whether or not we're negotiating with terrorists: Sergeant Bergdahl is a member of the military who was detained during the course of an armed conflict. The transfer of these individuals is not a concession -- it is fully in line with the President's goal of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay." Bergdahl's health is the number one priority now. He is also going through a "reintegration process" which will include "time for him to tell his story, decompress, and to reconnect with his family through telephone calls and video conferences." Bergdahl was deployed to Afghanistan in May 2009. He was 23 when he was captured by the Taliban after finishing a guard shift at a combat outpost on June 30, 2009, in Paktika province.
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