An Army sergeant with ties to the Santa Ynez Valley has been freed in Afghanistan after nearly five years as a Taliban prisoner.
The now-28-year-old Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, is the son of Solvang natives Jani and Bob Bergdahl, who moved to Idaho several years ago.
Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, after completing guard duty at a U.S. base near Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan.
According to the Los Angeles Times, after Bergdahl’s release had been negotiated, a group of Taliban fighters turned him over to several dozen U.S. special operations soldiers, backed by three helicopters and overhead drones.
The Times quoted a U.S. official as saying that Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.
Officials say he was taken to Bagram Airfield, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, for a medical evaluation, and would be transferred to the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for additional care before he returns to the United States.