Who is Bowe Bergdahl?
Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey is a soldier who was serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment in Afghanistan when he disappeared on June 30, 2009. It was later found that he had been captured by the Taliban, the only U.S. prisoner of war in Afghanistan.
For most of his five years as a prisoner, Bergdahl was believed held by the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate. On May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was traded back to the United states in exchange for five people held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The five include senior government officials from the time when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
A private at the time of his capture, he was promoted to sergeant two years later.
How was he captured?
That's a matter of some debate. But some have suggested he walked away unarmed from his base, and Rolling Stone magazine in 2012 quoted emails suggesting Bergdahl was disgusted with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl is not classified as a deserter. Earlier this year, a number of military experts suggested that even if he did leave his base, the Army will consider his five years in captivity as time served and won't pursue actions against him.
What was done to free him?
Bergdahl's freedom is the result of years of off-and-on talks involving the U.S. and the Taliban, with the assistance of the government of Qatar. While it wasn't always easy to tell what U.S. officials were doing to free Bergdahl, his parents, Bob and Jani, made periodic appeals to the government, in the media and even directly to the Taliban in a video online.
What's next for Bergdahl?
Later Saturday, May 31, Bergdahl was at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan receiving medical care. According to a U.S. defense official, medical authorities will transfer him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany once they feel he is fit to fly. There, he will be given "time to tell his story," and to reconnect with his family over the phone and online before he returns to the U.S.
It's not yet clear how long that process will take.