The defense secretary defended the administration’s actions. (AFP PHOTO/POOL/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed hope Sunday that the release of the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan would lead to direct talks with the Taliban.Hagel noted that Washington had engaged in talks with the Taliban before, until they were broken off in 2012, and that it strongly supported an Afghan-led effort to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban.Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was released Saturday near the Afghan-Pakistani border after nearly five years in Taliban captivity, in a surprise development that came as Washington winds down its 13-year intervention in Afghanistan.Hagel credited Qatar and its emir with Bergdahl's release in a trade for five high-level Taliban militants held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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