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    Taliban Releases Lone U.S. POW

    Undated image from video footage taken from a Taliban-affiliated website shows a man who says he is Private First Class Bowe R. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier captured by the Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan in late June. The Afghan Taliban said on December 25, 2009 that they had issued a new video tape of Bergdahl and added that in it he asks his government to take part in a prisoner exchange deal. REUTERS via Reuters TV (CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTR28CBI

    Reuters

    Welcome back, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Members of the Taliban handed over the only U.S. service member known to be held hostage in Afghanistan on Saturday morning in exchange for five Afghan detainees. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defended the government's decision not to give Congress the required 30-day notice for the release of detainees because Bergdahl's health was believed to be in danger. He said U.S. intelligence had information that Bergdahl's "safety and health were both in jeopardy, and in particular his health was deteriorating." Hagel seemed very pleased with how the exchange for Bergdahl went. "No shots were fired. There was no violence. It went as well as we not only expected and planned, but I think as well as it could have …The timing was right. The pieces came together," he said. The deal, which the Obama administration has been pursuing for several years, was brokered by the government of Qatar.  According to a senior Defense Department official, when Bergdahl was safely aboard a helicopter, he wrote the letters "SF?" on a paper plate, meaning "special forces?" A team member responded, "Yes. We've been looking for you for a long time," at which point Bergdahl broke down in tears. 

    Read it at Associated Press