Sgt. Bergdahl Faces Court Martial for Desertion
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army sergeant who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for five years will be court-martialed on charges of desertion and avoiding military service, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will also be charged with misbehavior before the enemy, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the announcement on the record and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The charges are the latest development in a long and bitter debate over Bergdahl's case, and underscore the military and political ramifications of his decision on June 30, 2009, to leave his post after expressing misgivings about the U.S. military's role, as well as his own, in the Afghanistan war.
Desertion can carry a maximum penalty of death, but most military officials have said they believe that is not likely in this case.
The U.S. military planned an announcement at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which is expected to include the location of the court-martial.
After leaving his post, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held by members of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group tied to the Taliban that operates both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Last May 31, Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special forces in Afghanistan as part of an exchange for five Taliban commanders who were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
After spending about two weeks recuperating at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, Bergdahl was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas on June 13. He has been doing administrative duties at the base, awaiting the conclusion of the case.