Thursday 18 January 2018

US soldier who spent five years as Taliban captive returns to army duty

Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who was a prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five years
Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who was a prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five years

Bowe Bergdahl, the US army sergeant who spent nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, has been returned to regular army duty and will be made available to army investigators for questioning about his disappearance in 2009.

Bergdahl is now assigned to US Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas. That is the same location where he has been decompressing from the effects of his lengthy captivity.

His exact duties were not immediately disclosed.

A brief army announcement said that in his assignment to US Army North he "can contribute to the mission" of homeland defence.

It said the army investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance and capture by the Taliban will continue.

Bergdahl was released from captivity on May 31 in exchange for five top Taliban commanders imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl walked away from his unit after expressing misgivings about the US military's role - as well as his own - in Afghanistan.

He was captured by Taliban members and held by the Haqqani network for five years.

He was released on May 31 as part of a deal in which the US released five top Taliban commanders who had been imprisoned at the military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Some former members of his unit have labelled him a deserter and said some were wounded or killed looking for him. The army has not ruled out disciplinary action against Bergdahl.

Bergdahl, 28, arrived at the Brooke army medical centre at Fort Sam Houston on June 13 after nearly two weeks recuperating at a US military hospital in Germany.

Army officials had said that in recent days Bergdahl was allowed to go, with supervision, to a food store, restaurants, shopping centres and a library as part of the process of getting him comfortable with being out in public.

Bergdahl has not commented publicly on the circumstances of his disappearance and the army has made no charges against him. The army has said it is investigating Bergdahl's disappearance and capture but that investigators will not interview him until those helping him recover say it is all right to do so.

As of last week, Bergdahl had not seen his parents since his return to the United States, according to a Pentagon official.

Press Association

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