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Bowe Bergdahl to return to US on Friday: official

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens to opening statements before testifying about the Bergdahl prisoner exchange at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington June 11, 2014.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON: The American soldier released by Afghan insurgents in a swap with the Taliban will return to the United States on Friday after undergoing medical treatment at a military hospital in Germany, a US defense official said Thursday.

Bowe Bergdahl was "expected to arrive on Friday" at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

After he was handed over by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on May 31, the US Army sergeant was flown to Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul, and then to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he has been recuperating for more than a week.

In return for Bergdahl's release, the United States transferred five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo prison to Qatar, in a deal that has sparked intense criticism in Washington.

Bergdahl has yet to speak to the news media about his nearly five-year ordeal and Pentagon officials have said his health has been steadily improving in the days since his release. 

His disappearance from a base in eastern Afghanistan ni 2009 has prompted speculation that he deserted his post before he was captured. 

Letters and other correspondence emerged on Wednesday and Thursday that suggested he was in a troubled state of mind during his deployment and that he lacked confidence in his commanders. 

"Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent," he wrote in a letter sent to family during his time in captivity, obtained by the Daily Beast.

The letter, one of two sent to his family via the International Committee of the Red Cross, was 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.

He also seems to be trying to appeal for understanding over his disappearance, though he does not explicitly state that he deserted.

"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 D.C. to wait for all evadince to come in."

Copies of the two letters were passed to the website by sources in contact with the Taliban, the Daily Beast said. 

 

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Summary

The American soldier released by Afghan insurgents in a swap with the Taliban will return to the United States on Friday after undergoing medical treatment at a military hospital in Germany, a US defense official said Thursday.

In return for Bergdahl's release, the United States transferred five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo prison to Qatar, in a deal that has sparked intense criticism in Washington.

Bergdahl has yet to speak to the news media about his nearly five-year ordeal and Pentagon officials have said his health has been steadily improving in the days since his release.

His disappearance from a base in eastern Afghanistan ni 2009 has prompted speculation that he deserted his post before he was captured.


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