Sgt. Bergdahl to arrive in the U.S. on Friday

Released from a five-year Taliban captivity nearly two weeks ago.

Published 12 June 2014  |  
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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will set foot on American soil Friday after being held captive by the Taliban for five years, and spending nearly two weeks in a German hospital.

Bergdahl was held in Afghanistan by the terrorist group after he walked away from his post in June 2009. He was released in a controversial prisoner swap on May 31.

A defense official told the Associated Press that Bergdahl will arrive at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Houston tomorrow. He is expected to undergo more health evaluations there after visiting with family members. Bergdahl is originally from Idaho.

At a congressional hearing, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the 28-year-old had to recover physically, but also emotionally, after being held prisoner.

"He's being held [at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany] because our medical professionals don't believe he's ready," Hagel said Wednesday.

"This isn't just about a physical situation. ...This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what kind of conditions. ...This is not just about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane."

Bergdahl, who was a private first class when he was captured, e-mailed his parents days before his desertion expressing disillusionment with America, the War on Terror, and his military service.

He was returned to U.S. custody in exchange for the controversial release of five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay. The men will be held in Qatar for at least one year before being allowed to go back to Afghanistan.

While the decision has faced considerable backlash, President Obama defends his choice. "The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule -- and that is, we don't leave our men or women in uniform behind," he said in a press conference last week.

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