Former POW Bowe Bergdahl back in the US

'Troubled' Bergdahl expected to be reunited with his family in Texas

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:38am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 6:38am


The US soldier freed in a controversial swap with the Afghan Taliban arrived back in the US yesterday, his latest step in a return to normalcy after five years in captivity.

The Pentagon said Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl arrived in the middle of the night on a flight from Germany to San Antonio, Texas, where he will continue treatment at the Brooke Army Medical Centre.

Bergdahl was handed over to US special forces in Afghanistan on May 31 in return for five senior Taliban detainees, who were sent to Qatar from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Bergdahl is at the centre of a growing debate over the swap that secured his freedom, with some US lawmakers accusing President Barack Obama of capitulating to terrorists.

Bergdahl has yet to speak to the media about his ordeal and Pentagon officials have said his health has steadily improved.

He is expected to be reunited with his family in Texas.

Depending on what psychologists recommend, the meeting may last just a few minutes, an army spokeswoman said.

His 2009 disappearance from a base in eastern Afghanistan fuelled speculation that he deserted his post before he was captured and that he may face prosecution by military authorities.

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 his family during his time in captivity. 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 actuly the ones risking thier lives from attack," he wrote in a March 23, 2013, letter.

Bergdahl also appeared to appeal for understanding, though he did not explicitly state that he deserted.

It was unclear to what degree his captors from the Haqqani network were dictating what he should write.

"If this letter makes it to the USA, tell those involved in the investigation that there are more sides to the cittuwation," he wrote. "Please tell DC to wait for all evadince to come in."

Bergdahl wrote that circumstances from the start of his deployment were "bad for troopers" and orders from officers "showed a high disconcer for safty of troopers in the field".

A journal and other writings obtained by The Washington Post that date back to the months before he disappeared indicate he was struggling to keep a grip on his mental stability.

"I am the lone wolf of deadly nothingness," he wrote in one passage quoted by the Post.