President Barack Obama releases a statement on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has been released from captivity after five years:
Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal. Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America's past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl's recovery is a reminder of America's unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield. And as we find relief in Bowe's recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.
For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier's return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Amir of Qatar. The Amir's personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries. The United States is also grateful for the support of the Government of Afghanistan throughout our efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl's release.
This week the United States renewed its commitment to the Afghan people and made clear that we will continue to support them as their chart their own future. The United States also remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process as the surest way to achieve a stable, secure, sovereign, and unified 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.
John Kerry's statement on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl:
The responsibility to make sure all of our men and women in uniform return from battle, especially those taken prisoner and held during war, is deeply personal to me as someone who has worn the uniform of my country – and as someone who was deeply involved in those efforts with respect to the unfinished business of the war in which I fought. Our nation has a sober and solemn duty to ensure that every single American who signs up to serve our country comes home. The cost of years of captivity to Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and his family is immeasurable. Today, we are heartened that Sergeant Bergdahl will soon be reunited with his family and friends, from whom he has been apart for far too long.
I extend my personal gratitude to the Government of Qatar – and especially to the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – who played such an instrumental role in returning Sergeant Bergdahl home. We work every day with Qatar on a range of critical foreign policy priorities. This effort – one that was personally so close to our hearts here – exemplifies how vital our partnership with Qatar is and will remain.
I spoke today with Afghan President Karzai to brief him on this development and to discuss President Obama's announcement this week about our efforts there. As we look to the future in Afghanistan, the United States will continue to support steps that improve the climate for conversations between Afghans about how to end the bloodshed in their country through an Afghan-led reconciliation process. As we've said, we look forward to working with the next President of Afghanistan and to standing side-by-side with the Afghan Government and the Afghan people as they build a secure, stable, sovereign, and unified country.