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US soldier released in swap for Guantanamo detainees

This US Army handout photo obtained June 1, 2014 shows Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, before his capture by the Taliban in AfghanistanUS Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday said a prisoner swap that freed soldier Bowe Bergdahl could create an “opening” for direct talks with the Taliban as the leader of the insurgents hailed the exchange as a “big victory”. Bergdahl, the only US soldier captured by the Taliban since the war began in 2001, was freed in exchange for five senior insurgent detainees as both parties claimed success for the dramatic deal, brokered by Qatar. But the swap was criticised by several Republican lawmakers who demanded to know whether the Taliban prisoners would return to fighting the United States. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Hagel staunchly defended the trade as an effort to save Bergdahl’s life and said it could provide a breakthrough for peace in Afghanistan.

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