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Bergdahl's parents emotional address
03:54 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

"You've made it ... You are free," Bowe Bergdahl's mother tells her son

Afghan Taliban leader praises release of detainees in rare statement

Susan Rice says U.S. feels confident released prisoners will be monitored

Bergdahl arrives at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany

CNN  — 

The parents of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl want the world to know they’re beyond grateful their son has been released from Afghanistan after five years in captivity, but the battle is far from over.

“The recovery and reintegration of Bowe Bergdahl is a work in progress,” Bob Bergdahl told reporters Sunday in Boise, Idaho, just one day after his son was set free.

“It isn’t over for us. In many ways. It’s just beginning for Jani, and I, and our family. There’s a long process here,” he said, referring to his wife, Bowe’s mother.

Both parents addressed their son, telling him how proud they are of him. They have not yet spoken to him directly.

“There’s a reason for that, and that’s because Bowe has been gone so long that it’s going to be very difficult to come back,” said Bob Bergdahl.

He compared his son’s situation to that of a diver going deep on a dive: “If he comes up too fast, it could kill him.”

Bergdahl is hospitalized in Germany, where his mother said there is a team of people in place to assist him.

“Trust them. It’s OK, and give yourself all of the time you need to recover and decompress,” Jani Bergdahl said to her son. “There is no hurry. You have your life ahead of you.”

She continued: “You’ve made it … You are free.”

Worsening health

Bergdahl, the last American soldier held captive from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, is on a long journey home after being freed in exchange for five Taliban detainees who had been held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.