The U.S. Army has begun its investigation into the circumstances of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance from his post in Afghanistan, a few days after the former POW returned to the United States.
“The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority. These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident. The investigating officer will have access to previously gathered documentary evidence, including the 2009 investigation,” the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, an Army officer with Afghanistan combat experience, was tapped to head the investigation.
Bergdahl arrived at an Army medical center in San Antonio last week after being freed late last month in Afghanistan in a prisoner swap in which President Barack Obama authorized the release of five high-level Guantanamo Bay detainees. The exchange spurred controversy, with some soldiers in Bergdahl’s unit accusing him of desertion when he went missing from his post in Paktika province on June 30, 2009.
Bergdahl was immediately taken to a U.S. Army medical facility in Germany after his release.
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The Pentagon said it hasn’t interviewed Begdahl yet and won’t until he’s cleared by his doctors. There’s also no timeline for the completion of the investigation.
“The Army's top priority remains Sgt. Bergdahl's health and reintegration,” the statement said. “We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration.”