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Republicans claim Obama 'violated laws' over transfer

President Obama has violated US laws when he approved the exchange between US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and five senior Taliban fighters held in Guantanamo Bay, two Republicans have claimed.

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) stands with Bob Bergdahl (R) and Jami Bergdahl Credit: Reuters

Howard McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and James Inhofe, senior Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr Obama "clearly violated laws" requiring him to give 30 days' notification.

But a senior US official said the administration had seized on a chance to save Bergdahl. "The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement," the official said.

Senior Taliban detainees to be transferred to Qatar

The White House has said that officials considered what they called "unique and exigent circumstances" and decided to go ahead with the transfer of Guantanamo detainees in exchange for US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

The detainees are among the most senior Afghans still held at the prison. They are:

  • Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence.
  • Mullah Norullah Nori, a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001.
  • Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.
  • Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan.
  • Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate their control over the country.

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Obama 'assured' over security after detainee release

President Obama thanked the Qatari and Afghan governments for cooperating with the US after US sergeant Bergdahl was released today after five years in captivity.

President Obama alongside the parents of US Sergeant Bergdahl. Credit: Reuters

Addressing reporters in the Rose Garden at the White House, Mr Obama said: "While Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten." He added that the US had an ironclad commitment to bring soldiers home and that he would never give up the search for soldiers.

Mr Obama also said that the Qatari and Afghan governments had assured him that despite the release of five Taliban fighters from Guantanamo Bay, they would protect US national security.

US soldier held by Taliban for five years freed

An American soldier who was held by the Taliban for almost five years, has been freed. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is now in US custody.

As part of the deal, five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been handed over to Qatar.

ITV News Correspondent Harry Smith reports:

Read: Army Sergeant held by Taliban with US Special Forces

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'The only remaining captured US soldier' freed

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was the only remaining US soldier captured in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

Bergdahl, who was held for nearly five years by the Taliban, has been released and is now in US custody.

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was held by Taliban Credit: Reuters

"It is our ethos that we never leave a fallen comrade. Today we have back in our ranks the only remaining captured soldier from our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Welcome home SGT Bowe Bergdahl," US Army General Martin E. Dempsey said in a statement.

Read: Army Sergeant held by Taliban with US Special Forces

Obama called US sergeant's parents to 'express our joy'

Barack Obama said he called the parents of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to "express our joy that they can expect his safe return,"

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.

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.

– Barack Obama s

Army Sergeant held by Taliban with US Special Forces

US special operations forces took custody of Army Sergeant Bergdahl in non-violent exchange in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said, adding that he was believed to be in good condition and undergoing a medical examination in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Private Bowe Bergdahl pictured in a Taliban video in 2009 Credit: Reuters

Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was the only known missing soldier in the Afghan war. He was captured under unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan by militants on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.

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