WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says the Army sergeant who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held by the Taliban for five years will be court martialed on charges of desertion and avoiding military service.
Sgt. Bergdahl will also be charged with misbehavior before the enemy, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. military plans an announcement at Fort Bragg in North Carolina Wednesday afternoon.
Bergdahl walked away from his post in Afghanistan and was captured, then released from Taliban capture in a prisoner exchange.
Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, has been reviewing the massive case files and had a broad range of legal options, including various degrees of desertion charges.
A major consideration was whether military officials would be able to prove that Bergdahl had no intention of returning to his unit — a key element in the more serious desertion charges.
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press, Associated Press Writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
Key events in the case of Army Sgt. Bowe :
2008: leaves Hailey, Idaho, to join the Army after jobs on an Alaskan fishing boat, cleaning guns at a shooting club, and crewing on a sailboat trip from South Carolina to California. Many in his mountain hometown from the librarian to the sheriff knew and liked . After seven months of military training, flew to Afghanistan in February 2009.
June 30, 2009: disappears during the night from his one-man pup tent next to the truck that served as his post as his unit guarded a stretch of riverbed. His body armor and weapon were left behind. Within a day, a radio operator intercepted Afghans chatting about their new bargaining chip. Days earlier, told his parents in an email that an Army vehicle had run over a girl, but “we don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.” A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that the evidence was “incontrovertible” that walked away from his unit, but did not accuse him of desertion, a former Pentagon official who read the report told The Associated Press.
May 31, 2014: U.S. special forces in Afghanistan collect as part of an exchange for five Taliban commanders who were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. America’s only military captive in the 13-year Afghan conflict returns home to debate over the cost of his freedom and anger from Republican lawmakers. Investigators with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office later agree that the Pentagon broke the law by failing to notify congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange. After his release, former soldiers who served with him labeled him a deserter and said he should be held accountable for leaving his post. Others suggested that troops were put in danger, and even killed, as they tried to find .
Feb. 23, 2015: The family of an American woman killed after spending months as a hostage of Islamic State militants said the chances for Kayla Mueller’s release worsened after the government traded five Taliban commanders for. Mueller’s father, Carl, said that the United States’ willingness to swap for but not pay ransom or allow ransom to be paid for his daughter “was pretty hard to take.”
March 25, 2015: was charged with misbehavior before the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison, and desertion, which carries a maximum of five years. His case now goes to the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing to be held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which will determine whether will be tried on the charges. A date for that hearing was not announced.
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