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American POW Bergdahl Returned to Active Duty

  • VOA News

FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.

FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.

U.S. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan for five years, has returned to active duty in the U.S. Army.

An Army spokesman said Monday that Bergdahl has completed the final phase of the reintegration process and is being assigned to U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio- Fort Sam Houston in the southern state of Texas, where he can "contribute to the mission."

A Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, told reporters in Washington that Bergdahl will be doing administrative work, "essentially a desk job."

The Army said an investigation continues into the facts and circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's disappearance and capture.

U.S. military officials say Bergdahl walked away from his Afghan post in 2009. Some of his former military colleagues say he willingly deserted his unit.

The Afghan Taliban released the sergeant May 31 in a controversial prisoner swap for five Taliban leaders held in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The detainees were sent to Qatar, which acted as a go-between in the transfer. The five men will be monitored for a year by the Qatar government.

After an initial assessment at a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, Bergdahl has received treatment at a military hospital and outpatient care at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

To live in barracks

Bergdahl’s transfer from the therapy phase to a regular soldier’s job is part of his reintegration into Army life, officials said. He will live in barracks and have two other soldiers help him readjust, The New York Times reported.

His new post, at Fort Sam Houston, is the same base where he has undergone therapy and counseling to deal with his reintegration back to the West.

The Idaho native's release initially sparked euphoria in the United States but quickly turned into a political debate over whether he had abandoned his post and whether the prisoner swap should have gone ahead.

Last week, the television news channel CNN reported that Bergdahl has been allowed to wander off the Texas base. It said that while under supervision, he has visited a library, a supermarket, stores and fast-food chains near the camp.

During the trips, Bergdahl sometimes wears civilian clothing and other times dresses in his military uniform, leading passers-by to recognize him and shake his hand, an Army source told CNN.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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