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Freed US soldier celebrated Christmas, played badminton with Islamist captors

Published on Jun 1, 2014 7:35 PM
 
This still image provided on Dec 7, 2010, by IntelCenter shows the Taliban associated video production group Manba al-Jihad Dec 7, 2010, release of US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (left), who has been held hostage by the Taliban since his disappearance from his unit on June 30, 2009. Freed United States soldier Bowe Bergdahl developed a love for Afghan green tea, taught his captors badminton, and even celebrated Christmas and Easter with the hardline Islamists, a Pakistani militant commander told AFP on Sunday. -- PHOTO: AFP

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) - Freed United States soldier Bowe Bergdahl developed a love for Afghan green tea, taught his captors badminton, and even celebrated Christmas and Easter with the hardline Islamists, a Pakistani militant commander told AFP on Sunday.

Army Sergeant Bergdahl, the only US soldier detained in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001, was released on Saturday in exchange for the freeing of five senior Taleban figures held at Guantanamo Bay, in a dramatic deal brokered by Qatar.

Sgt Bergdahl's almost five years in captivity saw him transferred between various militant factions along the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border, finally ending up in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal district, according to militant sources.

A commander of the Haqqani network, a militant outfit allied with the Taleban with ties to Al-Qaeda, on Sunday painted a picture of a man who adjusted to his new life by engaging with his captors while clinging to aspects of his own identity.

 
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