Former POW Bowe Bergdahl back in the US
By Daniel De Luce, AFP
June 14, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
WASHINGTON--The U.S. soldier freed in a controversial swap with the Afghan Taliban arrived back in the United States Friday, his latest step in a return to normalcy after five years in captivity.
The Pentagon said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived in the middle of the night on a flight from Germany to San Antonio, Texas where he will continue treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center.
Bergdahl was handed over on May 31 in return for five senior Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.
The U.S. Army sergeant had been recuperating at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, amid growing debate over the swap that secured his freedom, with some U.S. lawmakers accusing President Barack Obama of capitulating to “terrorists.”
The Pentagon said in a one-paragraph statement on its website that in Texas the soldier will “continue the next phase of his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this process. Our focus remains on his health and well-being.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “is confident that the Army will continue to ensure that Sgt. Bergdahl receives the care, time and space that he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration.”
Bergdahl has yet to speak to the news media about his ordeal and Pentagon officials have said his health has steadily improved in the days since his release.
His disappearance from a base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 has fueled speculation that the soldier deserted his post before he was captured and that he may face prosecution by military authorities.
Letters and other correspondence emerged this week suggesting Bergdahl was in a troubled state of mind before and during his deployment, and that he lacked confidence in his superiors.
“Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent,” he wrote in a letter sent to family during his time in captivity that was obtained by The Daily Beast website.
The letter, one of two sent to Bergdahl's family via the International Committee of the Red Cross, is marked by numerous spelling errors.
“The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that where actually the ones risking their lives from attack,” he wrote in a March 23, 2013 letter.
Bergdahl also appeared to appeal for understanding over his disappearance, though he does not explicitly state that he deserted.