Bergdahl says he was tortured by Taliban

2014-06-08 19:02

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Paris - US soldier Bowe Bergdahl has told people treating him at an American military medical facility in Germany that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape, a senior US official said on Sunday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss what Bergdahl has revealed about the conditions of his captivity. The New York Times first reported on the matter.

The official said it was difficult to verify the accounts Bergdahl has given since his release a week ago.

Bergdahl, now 28, was captured in June 2009 after he disappeared from his infantry unit. He was held for nearly five years by Taliban militants.

On Friday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press by telephone that Bergdahl was held under "good conditions". The claim could not be independently verified.

Military doctors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre say that while Bergdahl is physically able to travel he's not yet emotionally prepared to be reunited with his family. He has not yet spoken to his family.

It's unclear when he may get to go home.

Typically, a returned captive would spend from five days to three weeks in the phase of reintegration in which Bergdahl now finds himself, according to a Pentagon psychologist who is an expert in dealing with military members who have been released from captivity said this past week.

Once Bergdahl is considered ready to move on to the next phase of his decompression, he is expected to be flown to an Army medical centre in San Antonio, where it is believed he will be reunited with his family.

Bergdahl was returned to the US military in exchange for the release of five Taliban militants from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, who initially praised Bergdahl's release, backed off amid questions about whether he was a deserter who walked away from his post and an outcry over the exchange.

Some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers maintain that Americans died during efforts to find and save him. Also, there is great concern that the high-level Taliban officials will resume activities with the Taliban.


- AP
Read more on:    taliban  |  bowe bergdahl  |  us  |  afghanistan
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