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U.S. soldier free after almost five years captivity in Afghanistan

Published: Updated:

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for nearly five years by the Afghan militant group Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan, has been released and is now in U.S. custody, President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

As part of Bergdahl's release deal, the United States has handed over five Taliban prisoners at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of Qatar, according to U.S. officials.

Bergdahl's freedom follows months of indirect U.S.-Taliban talks with Qatar acting as intermediary, the officials said.

U.S. special operations forces took custody of Bergdahl in a non-violent exchange with Taliban members in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said, adding that he was believed to be in good condition. He was now undergoing a medical examination in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was the only known missing U.S. soldier in the Afghan war that was launched soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. He was captured under unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan by militants on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.

(with Reuters)