Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American solider held captive in Afghanistan, has been released by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees, U.S. officials said Saturday.
Bergdahl was held captive for nearly five years, after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
Officials said the detainees were in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the deal happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the government of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans.
“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call [Bergdahl’s] parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said.
A Defense Department official gave Fox News the names of the detainees: Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Abdul Haq Wasiq. They are believed to be the top five Taliban leaders at the prison and were selected in 2012 by Taliban leaders as part of initial negotiations
There are now 149 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay.