News / USA

Obama Makes 'No Apologies' on Bergdahl Release

Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
VOA News
President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would make “no apologies” for agreeing to a deal that released Taliban detainee U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, despite controversy in Washington that Congress was not notified ahead of time.
 
“I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child,'' Obama said at a news conference after a Group of Seven nations summit in Brussels, Belgium.
 
"We saw an opportunity and we seized it and I make no apologies for it," Obama reiterated.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon reported Bergdahl's health is stable and improving as he recuperates at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
 
In Brussels, the president addressed fierce criticism from Republicans and some Democratic allies that he did not sufficiently inform Congress over the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who was kept in captivity for nearly five years.
 
"This is not some abstraction, this is not some political football," Obama said. "As commander in chief of the armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.

"We don’t condition whether not we make the effort to get them back," he added.
 
Taliban weigh in

The Taliban also released a statement on Thursday, claiming Bergdahl's release shows the Taliban have legitimacy as a movement capable of negotiating successful deals with the United States, a Taliban commander told Reuters.
 
“This gives the Islamic Emirates more legitimacy in front of the world. It shows we are able to deal directly with the Americans and also successfully,” said Maulvi Mubarak, shadow Taliban chief of the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar.

Mubarak said the deal would also boost morale among the Taliban's ranks, including the hundreds of men under his command in three neighboring districts.
 
“This will give us more courage and determination to carry on this holy task,” he told Reuters.

The five Taliban leaders who were exchanged for Bergdahl have rejoined their families in Qatar after 13 years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The freed Taliban leaders will live under restrictions in Qatar, including a one-year ban on their travel. They include: Khairullah Khairkhwa, former Herat provincial governor and founding member of the Taliban; Mullah Mohammad Fazl, former chief of the army staff; Norullah Nuri, former civilian head of the northern zone; and Abdul Haq Wasiq, former deputy head of intelligence.

The fifth man, Mohammad Nabi Omari, is being described as a relatively minor figure associated with the Haqqani network that was holding the American soldier.

Bergdahl improving

Since Bergdahl's release last weekend, "his health continues to improve daily," said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Bergdahl has been speaking English with the staff at the Landstuhl medical center in Germany. However, he hasn't spoken with his parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl of Idaho, Warren said.
 
Bergdahl also is more engaged in his treatment plan at the center, but there is no specific timetable for his return to the U.S. for further treatment, Warren said.

Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in 2009. Some soldiers have said he walked away from his unit, and have alleged at least six soldiers died trying to find him.
 
He was freed last week in a controversial prisoner-swap deal that saw five Taliban militants released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and flown to Qatar.
 
Some Republican members of the U.S. Congress have said Obama set a dangerous precedent with the swap for Bergdahl and might have broken the law.
 
"I am never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington. That is par for the course," Obama said.

Some material for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
June 05, 2014 12:40 PM
For those opposed to the deal, one must ask: All of a sudden PTSD no longer matters. Does this mean any American soldier or cop suffering PTSD is a coward who must be despised? Seems so.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 06, 2014 8:28 AM
THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW? --- Less than .01% of .01% of the US military ever saw combat of any kind -- (BUT?) -- from my experience with the (DAV) Disabled American Veterans I worked with and knew, after my honorable discharge, I found out almost all their disabilities were frivolous, (non-combat related), made up injuries and PTSD to get disability payments for life, and still work a real job.. (that's what clogs the VA hospital system, all the fakers trying to get a free ride)...

MOST the Disabled American Veterans get at least 10% to 20% disability payments for the rest of their lives -- and free health care for them and their families -- (and the VA doctors help them get it?) --- Over 98% of (disability claims) of Disabled American Veterans, are for (non-combat related) claims they got injured or wounded or PTSD, when in the military sitting on their butts -- and they are really as healthy as any American civilian. .... REALLY


by: Edward F from: Wisconsin
June 05, 2014 12:31 PM
OK. so the US Marine held in Mexico is different?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid