By Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes
WASHINGTON–Taliban militants in Afghanistan on Saturday handed over Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been hold as a restrained of fight for roughly 5 years, to U.S. Special Operations Forces in sell for a recover of 5 Afghan Taliban prisoners during a Guantanamo Bay prison.
The breakthrough was brokered by Qatar, that sent member to a U.S. troops jail in Cuba to take control of a 5 Afghan detainees. The 5 were being flown to a tiny Gulf state where they will be compulsory to stay for during slightest a year to safeguard they don’t lapse to Afghanistan to join a fight there, U.S. officials said.
The sell noted a perfection of years of on-again, off-again talks directed during securing a recover of Sgt. Bergdahl, who was restrained nearby his bottom in Afghanistan and was a usually American restrained of war. Broader U.S. attempts to attorney settlement talks in Afghanistan have foundered.
The 28-year-old sergeant was expelled by a Taliban during 10:30 a.m. EDT to several dozen U.S. Special Operations Forces who arrived during a event indicate in eastern Afghanistan by helicopter. There, a Americans were met by roughly 18 members of a Taliban, who handed over Sgt. Bergdahl though incident.
Sgt. Bergdahl was afterwards installed onto a helicopter and flown to an American bottom for evaluation. On a helicopter, Sgt. Bergdahl wrote on a paper image “SF?” A member of a U.S. Special Operations Forces organisation replied, “Yes, we have been looking for we for a prolonged time.”
Sgt. Bergdahl afterwards pennyless down and cried, a U.S. central said.
His parents, who live in Hailey, Idaho, were in Washington, D.C., and were told that their son had been released. President Barack Obama pronounced in a created matter that he was respected to call Sgt. Bergdahl’s relatives “to demonstrate a fun that they can design his protected return, aware of their bravery and scapegoat via this ordeal.”
U.S. officials pronounced Mr. Bergdahl seemed to be in good condition and was means to walk.
Though Taliban leaders have so distant balked during entering assent talks with a U.S., Obama administration officials pronounced they hoped a restrained sell would lead to a broader discourse as a U.S. withdraws a army from Afghanistan.
“It is a wish Sergeant Bergdahl’s liberation could potentially open a doorway for broader discussions among Afghans about a destiny of their republic by building certainty that it is probable for all sides to find common ground,” Mr. Obama pronounced in his statement.
Some U.S. lawmakers had uttered concerns about releasing a Taliban detainees when a barter was initial proposed. But a invulnerability central pronounced a send was finished in correspondence with stream U.S. law that mandates presentation of Congress before detainees are transferred. “We have a chit of bargain with a supervision of Qatar, we have a suitable confidence assurances from them,” a invulnerability central said.
In a matter Saturday, Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, welcomed Sgt. Bergdahl’s recover though called a Taliban detainees being eliminated to Qatar “hardened terrorists who have a blood of Americans and large Afghans on their hands.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) praised “the diplomats, use members, and others who worked tirelessly to pierce Sergeant Bergdahl home.” President Obama, he added, “rightly famous a honest requirement to take each probable magnitude to strengthen and urge a organisation and women who offer a nation.”
Then-Pfc. Bergdahl was restrained on Jun 30, 2009, by militants after withdrawal his U.S. bottom in Paktika range in eastern Afghanistan. The resources surrounding his preference to transport of a bottom have remained murky.
While a prisoner, he has perceived unchanging troops promotions. However, a resources of his chains have never been clear. U.S. officials have pronounced he was believed to be hold for many of a final 5 years in Pakistan by a Haqqani network, an mutinous organisation that is associated with though apart from a Taliban, and not directly by a Taliban.
But officials pronounced Sgt. Bergdahl was handed over by Taliban, not Haqqani militants.
The U.S. hold tip discussions with a Taliban starting in late 2011 and early 2012, though a Taliban pennyless those contacts off. The U.S. hasn’t had any approach talks with a Taliban given then, solely for messages relayed back-and-forth by intermediaries, many critical a supervision of Qatar.
Last year, a Taliban non-stop an bureau in Qatar, a pierce corroborated by a U.S. as partial of negotiations directed during securing Sgt. Bergdahl’s release. That bid shortly bogged down in debate and was abandoned.
Then final November, a Taliban signaled to a U.S. that it was prepared to restart surreptitious talks on a singular emanate of a restrained exchange. The Taliban leaders involved, however, done transparent that they weren’t prepared to plead a broader emanate of reconciliation, U.S. officials said.
The talks progressed comparatively quickly. First, a Taliban supposing a U.S. with a “proof of life”–a video expelled progressing this year that showed Sgt. Bergdahl alive. The Americans, in turn, concluded to recover all 5 Afghan Taliban detainees during Guantanamo Bay during one time, instead of in stages.
“Several weeks ago an event arose to resume talks on Bergdahl and we seized that opportunity,” a comparison invulnerability central said.
The final restrained barter negotiations were personally conducted by Qatar, that acted as a mediator, flitting messages behind and forth.
Qatar sent member to a Guantanamo Bay jail to take control of a 5 Afghan detainees, whom U.S. officials identified as Mohammed Fazl; Noorullah Noori; Abdul Haq Wasiq and Khairullah Khairkhwa; and Muhammad Nabi Omari.
U.S. officials pronounced a 5 had over Saturday from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar aboard a U.S. troops aircraft.
Qatar has supposing a U.S. with assurances that a 5 detainees, once they arrive in Qatar, won’t poise a hazard to a U.S. These assurances, according to U.S. officials, embody during slightest a one-year transport ban, that bars them from withdrawal Qatari territory.
Sgt. Bergdahl is being evaluated during a brazen handling bottom in Afghanistan. When doctors transparent him, he will be changed to Bagram Air Base and afterwards returned to a U.S.
Prisoner swaps have been rare, though not unprecedented, during a Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Qais and Laith Qazali, dual brothers indicted of murdering U.S. soldiers in Iraq, were expelled by Iraqi officials in sell for a British warrant and a bodies of 4 other U.K. nationals, nonetheless a U.S. publicly denied a brothers were liberated as a restrained exchange.
Article source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20140531-701226.html