UK & World News

  • 12 June 2014, 20:43

Bergdahl: Freed US Soldier To Return Home

Freed American soldier Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will return to the United States overnight.

A Pentagon spokesperson told Sky News Sgt Bergdahl will arrive at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas on Friday.

He will then be housed at the Brooke Army Medical Center located at Fort Sam Houston.

The 28-year-old soldier has been undergoing treatment at a military hospital in Germany since his release on May 31.

The decision to transfer Sgt Bergdahl to US soil was made by his doctors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the Pentagon spokesperson said.

The soldier was freed after nearly five years in captivity when the Obama administration controversially agreed to release five Taliban leaders being held at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The prisoner swap, combined with allegations that Sgt Bergdhal had deserted his post in Afghanistan prior to his capture in 2009, sparked a firestorm in Washington.

The outrage reportedly prompted threats that even forced officials in Sgt Bergdahl's home town of Hailey, Idaho, to cancel a planned homecoming celebration.

US officials have kept a tight lid on Sgt Bergdahl's condition, and it is believed that he has not yet communicated with his parents since his release.

News of the soldier's impending return to the United States comes a day after US defence chief Chuck Hagel was forced to defend the prisoner swap during a congressional committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Mr Hagel was also questioned about the length of time Sgt Bergdahl had been in Germany.

"He's being held there because our medical professionals don't believe he's ready," he said.

"This isn't just about a physical situation. This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what kind of conditions ... This is not just about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane."

Advertisement