Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed from Taliban captivity six weeks ago. Now, he has completed treatment at a military hospital in Texas and is being returned to active duty, Army officials said Monday.
In a statement, officials said Bergdahl had “completed the final phase of the reintegration process” and would “now return to regular duty” at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, the same base where he has been receiving medical treatment and counseling.
For the Record
2:15 p.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to Bergdahl's parents as being from Montana.
But Bergdahl’s future remains in limbo until the Army completes an investigation into his disappearance in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009, when he was taken captive after apparently leaving his post without permission.
He is expected to be interviewed soon by Brig Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who was appointed last month to lead the investigation.
Berghdahl will work at headquarters of U.S. Army North, a command that oversees domestic defense.
Bergdahl, who was promoted to sergeant during his time as a captive, will live in noncommissioned officer quarters and work with other soldiers “who are providing leadership and guidance,” according to Donald E. Manuszewski, a spokesman for U.S. Army North.
When off duty, Bergdahl will be free to leave the base unescorted and go where he wants, according to an Army official. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss details of Bergdahl’s treatment.
Bergdahl, 28, was in good physical condition when he was released by the Taliban May 31 after nearly five years as a prisoner of war, but he has struggled with psychological issues, according to military officials.
The Army has refused to say whether Bergdahl has spoken to his parents in Idaho. They led a public campaign to gain his release and were invited to the White House the day he was freed.
Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Taliban suspects from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The five are in the custody of the government of Qatar and are subject to a travel ban.
The deal prompted sharp criticism by some Republicans in Congress who contended that it violated U.S. policy against negotiating with terrorists and that the Obama administration had given up too much to secure Bergdahl's release.
President Obama and top Pentagon officials said they believed the trade was their last chance to get a possibly ailing soldier home and that not doing so would have breached a long-standing practice of bringing back all prisoners of war.
Bergdahl was initially treated in Germany before being transferred to Texas. He was held prisoner longer than any U.S. soldier since the Vietnam War.
An Army inquiry conducted in the months after Bergdahl's disappearance concluded that he left his post without permission, but it reached no conclusion about whether he had deserted, according to a military official familiar with the findings.
Some men in his unit have accused Bergdahl of desertion and alleged that the search for him put other soldiers in danger.
Bergdahl said in a video released by the Taliban during his captivity that he was taken prisoner after falling behind on a patrol.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
July 14, 8:57 a.m.: This post was updated to reflect new information released by the Army.
July 14, 9:37 a.m.: This post was updated to include statements from U.S. Army North spokesman Don Manuszewski.
July 14, 1:10 p.m.: This post was updated throughout with details and background.