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Clinton: US 'always sought' Berghdal release

Celebratory signs are displayed outside Zaney's coffeeshop in Hailey, Idaho. Credit: Reuters

Hillary Clinton's new book has revealed that Barack Obama's government demanded the release of captured US soldier Sgt Bowe Bergdahl in every prisoner discussion it held with the Taliban.

The former US secretary of state also says in her book, Hard Choices, that she recommended President Obama end the decades-long US embargo on Cuba to force Fidel and Raul Castro into democratic change.

Hometown cancels celebrations for freed Bergdahl

Celebrations due to be held in Idaho, the hometown of US army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, have been cancelled.

Bergdahl was released after five years in Taliban captivity amid controversy over the circumstances surrounding his capture.

Read: Taliban video shows 'US prisoner release'

Sgt Bergdahl, freed after five years in Taliban captivity. His hometown of Idaho has cancelled planned celebrations. Credit: Reuters


Chuck Hagel warns against Bergdahl 'judgements'

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said it was unfair to jump to conclusions about released captive Sgt Bowe Bergdahl until the circumstances around his capture by the Taliban had been reviewed.

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel speaking at a Nato conference in Brussels today. Credit: Reuters

Mr Hagel said:" "We don't do that in the United States. We rely on facts.

"It's not my place as a former sergeant in the Army to decide who's worthy of being a sergeant and who isn't."

Sgt Bergdahl had been held in Afghanistan for five years but was released on Saturday amid speculation that he might face desertion charges.

Read more: Freed US soldier 'may face desertion charges'

Mr Hagel said the army would review all the circumstances surrounding how he left his unit and was captured by the Taliban.

US: No reason to doubt authenticity of release video

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told NBC News there was "no reason to doubt the authenticity" of the clip purporting to show US soldier Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has spent five years in Taliban captivity, being handed back into US custody.

The Taliban has released a video purporting to show Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to American custody. Credit: Taliban

He said: "US officials are currently reviewing the video, but our focus right now is in getting Bergdahl the care he needs."

Taliban video 'shows US prisoner release'

A video shot by the Taliban appears to show US soldier Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has spent five years in Taliban captivity, being handed back into US custody.

The footage shows Bergdahl sitting in a silver pick-up truck before getting out of the vehicle with a plastic bag and being frisked before being taken away in a helicopter.

Armed men can be seen on the hillside above him as one of his escorts waves a white flag.

Freed US soldier 'may face desertion charges'

A billboard calling for the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Credit: Reuters

The US Army may still pursue an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed from five years of Taliban captivity in a prisoner exchange last weekend, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the case, Gen Dempsey said he does not want to prejudge the outcome of any investigation or say anything that might influence a commander's decision.

But he said US military leaders "have been accused of looking away from misconduct, and it's premature" to assume they would do so in Sgt Bergdahl's case, despite the soldier's five years as a Taliban prisoner.


Hilary Clinton defends US prisoner swap

Hillary Clinton has defended the Obama administration's controversial decision to swap five Guantanamo Bay detainees for a US soldier held hostage in Afghanistan, saying many of America's allies made similar deals.

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal had been held for nearly five years by Afghan militants. Credit: REUTERS/U.S. Army/Handout

The former US secretary of state, said she did not second-guess people who made such tough decisions, but the American tradition of caring for its citizens and soldiers was a "noble" one.

"This young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American citizen - is an American citizen - was serving in our military. The idea that you really care for your own citizens and particularly those in uniform, I think is a very noble one," Clinton said.

She also noted that countries like Israel made similar swaps, citing its decision to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one of its soldiers in 2011.

Former Iraq hostage: 'All I wanted was to see my family'

It is surprising former prisoner of war Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has not spoken to his family, despite being freed on Saturday, a former Gulf War hostage told Good Morning Britain.

Retired RAF navigator John Nichol, who was captured in Iraq after his plane was shot down in 1991, said he found it "quite curious" Bergdahl had not been able to speak to his parents.

"That was the first thing that we wanted to do - and I was only a prisoner for several weeks not for five years."

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