News / USA

    Questions Surround Bergdahl's 2009 Disappearance in Afghanistan

    Questions Over US Soldier’s Disappearance Dampens Joy of His Returni
    X
    June 03, 2014 1:38 AM
    Nearly five years after he was taken prisoner by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is free. But as VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon, joy over his release has been tempered by new criticisms from the ranks of those who served.
    Related report by Jeff Seldin, "Questions Over US Soldier’s Disappearance Dampens Joy of His Return"
    Ken Bredemeier
    U.S. officials are defending the Taliban prisoner swap that freed an American prisoner of war in Afghanistan, but those who served with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said he willingly walked away from his post after becoming disillusioned with the U.S. war effort.
     
    Military personnel who knew Bergdahl, then 23, when he disappeared nearly five years ago said that while on guard duty, he left his weapons behind and walked off his post.

    Some said Bergdahl should have to answer for his actions.
     
    Reintegration of recovered military personnel

    The process used by the military to help recovered personnel return to normal life
    involves medical care, psychological support, debriefings and family support.

    It is carried out in three phases:

    - Phase 1: Initial Recovery - The returnee is given medical triage, psychological support and a tactical debriefing

    - Phase 2: Decompression Location - The returnee is moved to a regional hospital for at least 72 hours for more medical exams and debriefings

    - Phase 3: United States Base - The returnee is reunited with family and receives more medical care and final debriefings

    Source: U.S. Army
    Bergdahl was captured by Taliban insurgents in June 2009 and held until the United States won his freedom May 31 by agreeing to release five Taliban terrorism suspects held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
     
    Military officials are confirming to news agencies that Bergdahl left his unit voluntarily, but said they do not know why.

    Bergdahl is undergoing medical tests in Germany before he returns to America for debriefings and a reunion with his family.
     
    U.S. soldiers who leave their posts without permission can face serious charges of desertion or being absent without leave. But U.S. officials said that is unlikely in Bergdahl's case, given his five years in captivity at the hands of the Taliban.
     
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Bergdahl's health is most important at the moment and questions about his disappearance can wait.
     
    "Our first priority is assuring his well-being and his health and getting him reunited with his family. Other circumstances that may develop and questions, those will be dealt with later," said Hagel.

    Emails to parents cited
     
    A Rolling Stone magazine profile of his case in 2012 said an email he sent his parents in the western U.S. state of Idaho shortly before disappearing showed that he had become sharply disenchanted by the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.

    The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to destroy Taliban military operations at the root of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
     
    Bergdahl profanely criticized some of the leaders of his Army unit and said the U.S. war was misguided.

    Bergdahl concluded, " I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. solider is just the lie of fools."
     
    But within a month, in a video released by the Taliban, Bergdahl sat on a floor eating a meal and acknowledged his fright in captivity.
     
    "Well, I am scared, I am scared I will not be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner," he said.
     
    U.S. officials have not said when Bergdahl will return to his homeland.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: rick from: wv
    June 02, 2014 4:01 PM
    Although I believe the US should try it's best to return all POW's, these are some serious allegations which if true could do more than give obama a black eye. THe fact that they, Ms. Rice, cited the need to act immediatley and circumvent the congress on health reasons seems to have no merit. Add that to the questions and obama might have just sealed the fate of the US to be republican and we all lose. He best hope that he is 100% right this time or there will be repercussions...like impeachment.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.