July 03, 2015 07:55 UTC

In the News

Effects of Taliban Prisoner Release Unclear

U.S. President Barack Obama stands with Jami and Bob Bergdahl (R) as he delivers a statement about the release of their son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in Washington May 31, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama stands with Jami and Bob Bergdahl (R) as he delivers a statement about the release of their son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in Washington May 31, 2014.
In the News - June 7, 2014
In the News - June 7, 2014i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

From VOA Learning English, this is In The News. 
 
Five members of Afghanistan’s Taliban rejoined their families this week after 13 years in detention.  The United States had been holding the five at its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The U.S. government recently sent them to Qatar in exchange for the only American soldier held in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was believed to have been held prisoner for almost five years.  U.S. officials believe his captors belong to the Haqqani network, a group with links to the Taliban.
 
Defense Department officials say Sergeant Bergdahl’s release followed several weeks of secret, indirect talks.  The government of Qatar reportedly assisted in the negotiations.
 
In Washington last Saturday, President Barack Obama praised the soldier’s release. 
 
“He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin.  And he wasn’t forgotten by his country – because the United States of American does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.”

 
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe BerghdalU.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal
x
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal
Republican Party lawmakers welcomed Bowe Bergdahl’s release, but questioned the prisoner exchange.  Senator John McCain was himself a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.  He described the five Afghans as hardened terrorists and violent extremists.  He and other Republicans wanted the Obama administration to explain what steps were taken to make sure the five never return to fight against the United States.
 
The government in Afghanistan was angered at President Obama’s decision to release the detainees.  The Afghan foreign ministry said the decision was a possible violation of international law. 
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has defended the agreement to exchange the detainees for Sergeant Bergdahl.  He also defended the decision not to inform Congress before the exchange took place, as required by law.
 
Secretary Hagel said he does not think the deal will endanger U.S. military personnel or civilians by inviting future deals with hostage-takers.
 
The events leading up to the capture of the American in 2009 remain unclear.  A soldier who served with him said the former prisoner is no hero. 
 
“People calling him a hero or calling him this great soldier?  It’s a spit in the face to all the soldiers who were there.”
 
That was former Army Sergeant Evan Buetow.  He was Bowe Bergdahl’s team leader in Afghanistan.  He says he is happy Sergeant Bergdahl is safe.  But he says he cannot understand celebrating a soldier he says just walked away from his base.
 
On social media, others accused Bowe Bergdahl of walking away and of getting U.S. troops killed as a result of his actions.
 
Jonah Blank is with the RAND Corporation policy group.  He notes the Army recognized the soldier with promotions not once, but twice during his captivity.  He says this suggests his actions were nothing less than honorable.
 
Army Secretary John McHugh has made clear the military’s first goal is to make sure Sergeant Bergdahl regains his health.  He says once that happens, the Army will launch what he called a “comprehensive, coordinated” investigation of the soldier’s disappearance.
 
And that’s In The News from VOA Learning English.  I’m Steve Ember.
Question image

Taliban Prisoners Exchange

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sidiqullah from: Kabul,Afghanistan
06/11/2014 5:33 AM
Good practice, hope peace came to the heart of asia.

In Response

by: Rômulo from: Brasil
06/12/2014 4:32 AM
on the contrary friend, has five more dangerous terrorists released, terror will increase.


by: Ghula Jan from: Afghanistan
06/10/2014 5:12 AM
Why you people released the Taliban because of the you people came here for war so there for 1change to 5 is it good Decide or how just kill one and get five


by: BIJU.P.Y from: SOUTH INDIA
06/09/2014 3:59 PM
The handing over of Sergeant Bergdahl was America's diplomatic victory. But handing over of 5 Taliban terrorists in exchange for this is just like taking two one step forward and two steps back. Yet saving a life from the torture grounds of the Taliban was a glorious victory for both the Americans and Mr. Bergdahl himself at large. It is a happy reunion with his family and with his nation as well. Thank you.


by: Alex from: Sankt-Peterburg
06/08/2014 11:31 AM
The phrase 'through thick and thin' in Russian can be translated 'throuh fire and water'.


by: long
06/07/2014 2:57 AM
good

Learn with The News

  • Video Japanese-Americans Remember End of World War II

    VOA goes to a gathering of old men who served in the American military during the war. They fought against Japan while their families were being detained in internment camps in the US. “I…felt very strongly that we needed to show that we were patriotic Americans.” | As It Is More

  • Audio Chinese Children Seeking a Happy Ending

    Repeated cases of child abuse in China have shocked the country. They also have led to more protection of children’s rights. But child welfare activists say the government and private groups need to do more to stop neglect and violence against children. More

  • Tunisia Attack

    Audio Tunisia Detains 12 in Connection with Hotel Attacks

    Also in the news today, an Afghan court is canceling death sentences given to four men for a mob killing of a woman; At least 36 dead in Philippines boat accident, and dozens remain missing; and the United States and Japan will face each other again in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday. More

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, July 1, 2015.

    Audio U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies

    Sec. of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the U.S. flag over the first American embassy there in 50 years. Also in the news, Islamic State group claims attacks in Egypt’s Sinai; Liberian president calls new Ebola case “disturbing”; U.S. advances to Women's World Cup final. More

  • Audio Clash Reported at Border of Vietnam, Cambodia

    Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured. More

Featured Stories

  • South Korea Film Terminator Genisys

    Video Demons, Male Dancers and Dinosaurs at Theaters Everywhere

    Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and Channing Tatum reprises his role as stripper Magic Mike. But there are also scary movies about demon children, comedies with a talking teddy bear and a marijuana-smoking secret agent; and a documentary about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. More

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs