After nearly five years in captivity, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban Saturday in a deal that sent five captives from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Qatar, according to the Washington Post.
The deal was brokered by the government of Qatar, which has agreed to host the five Taliban inmates in the Gulf emirate for at least one year. The men were en route to Qatar aboard a U.S. military aircraft as of early Saturday afternoon, a defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. They were being accompanied by representatives of the Qatari government.
This is how a military official described Bergdahl’s first moments after being released:
After the soldier was aboard a helicopter, he grabbed a paper plate and wrote the letters “SF?” to inquire whether the troops he was with were Special Forces, a senior Defense Department official said.
“Yes,” one of the members of the team responded. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”
Bergdahl broke down in tears.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Central Command commander, released the following statement:
“Earlier today Army Sgt. Bowe M. Bergdahl was returned to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. His safe recovery has been a focus and priority for me and this command since his capture five years ago. I am grateful to our partners in Qatar for their efforts, and proud of the many dedicated U.S. service members, civilians, and federal agents who have worked tirelessly to bring Bowe home. We look forward to reuniting him with his family.”
You can read the full Washington Post story and for perspective, listen to the father of Bowe Bergdahl in a plea to the Taliban more than two years ago: