U.S. military appoints general to probe Bergdahl disappearance

WASHINGTON Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:37pm EDT

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Army and received by Reuters on May 31, 2014. REUTERS/U.S. Army/Handout via Reuters

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Army and received by Reuters on May 31, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Army/Handout via Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has appointed a two-star general to investigate the circumstances under which Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier recently freed after five years in Taliban captivity, disappeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2009, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the general had been appointed to conduct the army investigation of Sergeant Bergdahl's June 2009 disappearance and capture, but said the probe had not yet begun.

The official declined to name the general.

Bergdahl, who was released on May 31 in a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, arrived at a military hospital in Texas on Friday.

While the release of Bergdahl, who had been the only U.S. prisoner of war, was widely hailed initially, it has also attracted widespread criticism, in part from lawmakers who say the five senior Taliban figures freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for Bergdahl could return to the fight.

Lawmakers have also complained that the Obama administration failed to give Congress required 30-day notice before releasing the Taliban to Qatar.

Some of Bergdahl's former peers in Afghanistan have alleged the soldier, now 28, walked away from his post voluntarily. But the Pentagon has said the circumstances of his disappearance and capture were unclear.

An earlier U.S. military investigation found he had slipped away from his unit before but always returned.

While U.S. officials have hailed his safe return after a long and grueling captivity - he was reported to have been kept in a cage by his militant captors - General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the Army would not "look away from misconduct if it occurred."

The investigating general's appointment was first reported by CNN. It is unclear how long the investigation will take.

Bergdahl, who late last week was described as being in stable condition, is being treated by specialists at a military hospital that has been helping returned prisoners of war for decades.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Comments (5)
elpaso wrote:
Careful, your political propaganda agenda is showing.

Jun 15, 2014 5:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
euro-yank wrote:
Leave it alone. Our opinions here make no difference to his fate.

Jun 15, 2014 6:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:
Do you people ever tire of your own non-stop, venomous, hateful and vitriolic anti-American rhetoric?

And yes, I said “anti-American”: Anti-Americanism, or anti-American sentiment is opposition or hostility to the policies, culture, society, economics, international, or superpower role of the United States.

You people continually offer nothing but your hate-speech, rhetorically trashing all of these aspects of America, in every single one of your comment posts. And as near as I can tell, reading your comments, none of you show any intention of contributing anything positive to the dialog; only all negativity all the time.

It’s easy to sit atop the sled and criticize, just adding your own weight to the burden. Much harder to actually get down off of your perch, pick up a tow-rope and pull.

From your words I can’t detect any willingness to share any part of America’s burden, only a mindset to add to the divisiveness and in so doing make the burden greater. And that is anti-American.

Jun 15, 2014 6:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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