military appoints general to probe Bergdahl disappearance
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[June 16, 2014]
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
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
An earlier U.S. military investigation found he had slipped away
from his unit before but always returned.
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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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