U.S. soldier freed in Afghanistan, 5 Taliban prisoners leave Guantanamo

U.S. President Obama watches as the parents of U.S. Army Sergeant Bergdahl talk about the release of their son at the White House in Washington

(Reuters) – The last U.S. prisoner of war held in Afghanistan was handed over to U.S. Special Operations forces on Saturday, in a dramatic swap for five Taliban detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay prison and flown to Qatar.

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been held for nearly five years by Afghan militants and his release, following years of on-and-off negotiations, suddenly became possible after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban apparently shifted course and agreed to back it, according to U.S. officials.

Bergdahl, 28, was handed over about 6 p.m. local time on Saturday, a senior official said. The U.S. forces, who had flown in by helicopter, were on the ground very briefly, said the officials, who would not specify the precise location of the handover.

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