U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Released From Five-Year Captivity in Afghanistan
On Saturday, May 31, 2014, Americans learned that Idaho native Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been released in Afghanistan after being held prisoner for nearly five years. He was exchanged for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, who will now be sent to Qatar.
"On behalf of the American people I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return," President Obama said in a statement distributed by the White House.
President Obama's full statement:
Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal. Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America’s past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield. And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.
For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier's return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Amir of Qatar. The Amir’s personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries. The United States is also grateful for the support of the Government of Afghanistan throughout our efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl’s release.
This week the United States renewed its commitment to the Afghan people and made clear that we will continue to support them as their chart their own future. The United States also remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process as the surest way to achieve a stable, secure, sovereign, and unified Afghanistan. While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground.
Bowe's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, released this statement:
We were so joyful and relieved when President Obama called us today to give us the news that Bowe is finally coming home! We cannot wait to wrap our arms around our only son. We want to thank Bowe’s many supporters in Idaho, around the nation and around the world. We thank the Amir of Qatar for his efforts. And of course, we want to take this opportunity to thank all those in the many U.S. Government agencies who never gave up. Today, we are ecstatic!
Bergdahl went missing from a base in southern Afghanistan in June of 2009. He was the only soldier being held captive. Bergdahl was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant and a promotion certificate was presented to Bowe’s parents in Hailey.