US Army sergeant once held captive by Taliban admits desertion
31-year-old Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier once held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan for five years, has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl entered his plea before a military court. He was accused of abandoning his post to meet Taliban militants, a charge he denies. The US exchanged five Taliban militants detained at Guantanamo Bay for his release.
Bergdahl spent most of his time in captivity in a "cage" and was extensively tortured. The Army determined that he suffered from schizotypal personality disorder when he allegedly abandoned his post. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. His former platoon mates claim several US soldiers were killed in the frantic 45-day search for Bergdahl. Serviceman injured during the search will testify in court.
Bergdahl told the military court: "I was captured by the enemy against my will." "At the time I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations... It's very inexcusable," he said. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for misbehavior before the enemy and a five-year sentence for desertion. His pre-sentencing hearing is scheduled on October 23.
The Army general who investigated Bergdahl's disappearance has testified that a jail sentence would be "inappropriate." Bergdahl's lawyers argue that he can't get a fair trial due to criticism by Donald Trump last year. Trump had called Bergdahl "garbage" and "a no-good traitor who should have been executed." Meanwhile, Republicans had criticized the prisoner exchange involving him, saying America doesn't negotiate with terrorists.