Obama, Bergdahl’s parents thank Afghan govt
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US President Barack Obama on Saturday thanked the Afghan government for supporting the release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held captive by the Taliban for five years.
“I want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release,” Obama told a news conference the White House, where the parents of Bergdahl were present, and they also thanked the people of Afghanistan for the release of their son.
“Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan,” the US president said.
Obama said the US was committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan. “We are committed to closing Gitmo. But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home.”
Obama said as Commander-in-Chief, he was proud of the service members who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way.
“As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud,” he said, adding that right now, his priority was to make sure that Bowe got the care and support he needed and that he reunited with his family as soon as possible.
“I'm also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release,” he said.
“We've worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar.”
Obama said the Qatari government had given them assurances that it would put in place measures to protect the US national security.
Speaking on the occasion, mother of the American soldier thanked everyone who supported his release. “He’s had a wonderful team everywhere. We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers,” she said.
“I'd like to say to Bowe right now, who is having trouble speaking English -- (speaks in Pashto) -- I'm your father, Bowe,” his father said.
“To the people of Afghanistan, the same -- (speaks in Pashto) -- the complicated nature of this recovery was -- will never really be comprehended,” he added.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.