(Politico) Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in an interview this week that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl intentionally left his base in 2009 before being captured by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in an interview this week that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl intentionally left his base in 2009 before being captured by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
McChrystal told Fox News that he had been in command for “about a month or so” when Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009.
“And my initial understanding, based upon the reportings I got, that he had walked off intentionally,” McChrystal said, adding that he was not sure whether Bergdahl left with the intent of being picked up by the Taliban or simply “walked off.”
McChrystal said the Army undertook a massive effort to find Bergdahl for a couple of reasons.
“One, because he was one of our soldiers, right thing to do. Second is, we didn’t want him to get taken by the Taliban and then put in Pakistan as we assumed that he would,” he said. “I think that, you know, he was a confused young man was my assumption at the time, and I think that’s probably going to turn out to be the judgment of time, but it became this focus of a propaganda effort on the part of those who held him, the Haqqanis, and it became very powerful against the United States, put us in a difficult position.”
Bergdahl was released from captivity on May 31, 2014, as part of a controversial swap of five Guantánamo Bay detainees. He was later charged with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. Army officials announced last month that initial hearings in his case would begin in July at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas.