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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs