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US soldier swap with Taliban was 'right decision': Hagel

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee June 11, 2014 in WashingtonPentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Wednesday staunchly defended the swap of five Taliban detainees for a US soldier as a “tough call” but a necessary one to secure Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s release. Seeking to counter a barrage of criticism from lawmakers, Hagel insisted President Barack Obama had to act quickly given Bergdahl’s deteriorating health and that the swap deal brokered by Qatar represented the “last, best opportunity” to ensure the soldier’s freedom. “We made the right decision, and we did it for the right reasons — to bring home one of our own people,” Hagel told a tense hearing before the House Armed Services Committee. After signing a memorandum with Qatar on May 12 on the details of the transfer of the Taliban detainees, the Qataris issued a warning to US officials that “time was not on our side,” Hagel said.

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