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President defends prisoner swap for captured US soldier

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has defended his administration's operation to rescue Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity, saying the US was committed to freeing its prisoners of war regardless of how they were captured.

Mr Obama acknowledged the Taliban fighters who were freed from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Sgt Bergdahl could engage in efforts that were detrimental to US security again.

But the President said he was confident the US could go after those individuals if that were the case.

Sgt Bergdahl had not met with his family yet but Mr Obama denied he was being interrogated after claims he had deserted his post before being captured.

Earlier, Hillary Clinton had defended the Obama administration's controversial decision to swap the Guantanamo Bay detainees for the soldier, saying many of America's allies made similar deals.

The former US secretary of state, speaking in Denver, Colorado, said she did not second-guess people who made such tough decisions, but the American tradition of caring for its citizens and soldiers was a "noble" one.

Several Republicans have attacked the Obama administration for the deal, saying it had capitulated to terrorists and some critics have suggested Sgt Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan before being captured by the Taliban in 2009.

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