President Obama announced Saturday the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who had been held captive nearly five years in Afghanistan.
"On behalf of the American people I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return," Obama said in a statement distributed by the White House.
Obama thanked the Emir of Qatar, whose "personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries," and expressed hope that Bergdahl's release would portend well on the prospects for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
"While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl's recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground," he said.
Bergdahl, 28, was serving in a parachute infantry regiment of the the Army's 25th Infantry Division, when he was captured in Afghanistan June 30, 2009.
He is now under the care of the U.S. military after being handed over by his captors in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement.
"We will give him all the support he needs to help him recover from this ordeal, and we are grateful that he will soon be reunited with his family," Hagel said.
Hagel also said he informed Congress today that the USA is transferring five detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar, which has agreed to ensure that security measures are in place and the national security of the United States will not be compromised, he said.
"I want to thank him for his instrumental role in facilitating the return of Sgt. Bergdahl," Hagel said.