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Sgt. Bergdahl recovering at German hospital

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Sgt. Bergdahl is currently in stable condition at Landstuhl hospital in Germany. (Source: CNN) Sgt. Bergdahl is currently in stable condition at Landstuhl hospital in Germany. (Source: CNN)
After the U.S. received a "proof of life" video, they decided to broker a secret deal for Bergdahl's release. (Source: IntelCenter/CNN) After the U.S. received a "proof of life" video, they decided to broker a secret deal for Bergdahl's release. (Source: IntelCenter/CNN)
The U.S. released five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl. (Source: CNN) The U.S. released five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – An American soldier held captive for five years by Afghan militants, is now recuperating in a German hospital.

A U.S. defense official says Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is in a stable condition and a team is working on building up his trust.

Bergdahl was freed in exchange for five Taliban members detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl is a controversial figure. Fellow soldiers say he walked off his base in June 2009. At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for him.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was admitted early Sunday to Landstuhl Hospital. Doctors are working with the 28-year-old soldier to reintegrate him with his former life.

How long Sgt. Bergdahl stays at the hospital in Germany depends upon his recovery. The doctors say they are sympathetic to all he has been through and will work at a pace he is comfortable with.

Meanwhile, new details are emerging about the secret recovery effort that led to his freedom that was three years in the making.

According to U.S. defense officials, a so-called "proof of life" video, sent last December, incited them to broker the secret deal. Officials say the soldier's sickly appearance put them on an advanced time table.

The deal was to swap five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl.

"Release me please," Bergdahl said in a video. "I'm begging you, bring me home, please. Bring me home."

According to The Wall Street Journal, after days of waiting, the Taliban's call to meet finally came.

U.S. defense officials say it was just around 10:30 in the morning on Saturday when 18 armed Taliban fighters led Bergdahl to the meeting point near the Pakistani border.

Special Ops forces, backed by helicopter gunships were in wait.

Bergdahl walked up to the U.S. commandos, talking to them right away.

The American forces immediately searched him for explosives and verified his identity.

U.S. officials say the meeting lasted just seconds. Bergdahl was quickly ushered onto a helicopter en route to Bagram Air Base.

On the helicopter, Bergdahl reached for a paper plate and scribbled, "SF?," asking the commandos if they were Special Forces. After hearing they were, Bergdahl broke down crying.

After nearly five years, America's last POW from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict was finally free.

"Five years is a seemingly endless long time, but you've made it," Jani Bergdahl said.

Bergdahl's parents who have not yet had contact with their son sent him this message:

"I'm proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people and what you were willing to do to go to that length," Bob Bergdahl said.

Doctors at the hospital in Germany say one of their priorities now is getting Sgt. Bergdahl back to his family.

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