SLIDESHOW: President Obama Welcomes The Release Of Sgt. Bowe Be - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SLIDESHOW: President Obama Welcomes The Release Of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is welcoming the release of the lone U.S. soldier held in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

During an appearance Saturday in the Rose Garden, Obama says that while Bergdahl was gone, "he was never forgotten." The president was joined at the White House by the soldier's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl.

Bergdahl was turned over by the Taliban earlier Saturday in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees who were held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama says the U.S., quote, "does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind."

Bergdahl's father thanked all those who took part in his son's recovery, saying it was difficult to put his feelings into words.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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HAILEY, Idaho (AP) - The news of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from captivity spread quickly Saturday in his hometown of Hailey in southern Idaho.

Residents immediately began making plans for a welcome home celebration.

An annual event called "Bring Bowe Back" scheduled for June 28 was quickly renamed "Bowe is Back."

The town of 7,000 residents has hung yellow ribbons and planted a tree in the city park each year since he was held.

Stefanie O'Neill, who has organized the annual "Bring Bowe Back" event, says the ribbons will stay up until Bergdahl is back home.

But she was happy to say a fifth tree won't need to be planted.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter issued a statement welcoming the news and expressing gratitude that prayers for Bergdahl's release were answered.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials say the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is in U.S. custody.

The officials say Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release was part of a negotiation that includes the release of five Afghan detainees held in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The negotiation between the U.S. and the Taliban was mediated by the government of Qatar.

The 28-year-old Berghdal had been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. The officials say he is in good condition and able to walk.

The officials insisted on anonymity in order to describe the details on Bergdahl's release.

The five Taliban members being released are Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammed Nabi Omari. 

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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