Bergdahl says he was tortured by Taliban captors

Taliban spokesman denies it; says former POW was held under 'good conditions'
Associated Press
Jun 8, 2014


U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has told people treating him at an American military medical facility in Germany that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape, a senior U.S. official said Sunday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss what Bergdahl has revealed about the conditions of his captivity. The New York Times first reported on the matter.

The official said it was difficult to verify the accounts Bergdahl has given since his release a week ago.

Bergdahl, now 28, was captured in June 2009 after he disappeared from his infantry unit. He was held for nearly five years by Taliban militants.

Taliban spokesmen could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. On Friday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press by telephone that Bergdahl was held under "good conditions." The claim could not be independently verified.

Military doctors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center say that while Bergdahl is physically able to travel he's not yet emotionally prepared to be reunited with his family. He has not yet spoken to his family.

It's unclear when he may get to go home.

The Pentagon said in a statement Sunday that it would not comment on Bergdahl's discussions with those caring for him.

Typically, a returned captive would spend from five days to three weeks in the phase of reintegration in which Bergdahl now finds himself, according to a Pentagon psychologist who is an expert in dealing with military members who have been released from captivity said this past week. The psychologist spoke to reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.

Once Bergdahl is considered ready to move on to the next phase of his decompression, he is expected to be flown to an Army medical center in San Antonio, where it is believed he will be reunited with his family.

Bergdahl was returned to the U.S. military in exchange for the release of five Taliban militants from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Qatar, a tiny Gulf state, served as a go-between during the negotiations, and has ongoing role in ensuring the five released prisoners remain there for at least a year, under a memo of understanding with the U.S.

The Qataris aren't "the only ones keeping an on eye on them," Kerry said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

He said the U.S. has confidence in the restrictions imposed on the former detainees, as a condition of their release.

"I am not telling you that they don't have some ability at some point to go back and get involved" in the terrorism fight against the United States, Kerry said.

"But they also have an ability to get killed doing that, and I don't think anybody should doubt the capacity of the United States of America to protect Americans. ... So these guys pick a fight with us in the future or now or at any time at enormous risk," Kerry said.

The deal, which the Obama White House pulled off without adhering to a law requiring 30 days' notice before the release of Guantanamo detainees, ignited a political firestorm that shows no signs of abating.

Lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, who initially praised Bergdahl's release backed off amid questions about whether he was a deserter who walked away from his post and an outcry over the exchange.

Some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers maintain that Americans died during efforts to find and save him. Also, there is great concern that the high-level Taliban officials will resume activities with the Taliban and threaten members of the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

"I just think that's a lot of baloney," said Kerry, noting that the U.S. will be ending its combat role in Afghanistan and will have fewer people in positions of risk.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, who was held prisoner during the Vietnam War, agreed with Kerry that the U.S. should do all it can to win the release of any American being held, "but not at the expense of the lives or well-being of their fellow servicemen and women."

He told CNN that "when we join the military, we know we take certain risks, and among those risks are wounding, death, imprisonment."

On Wednesday, Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, abruptly canceled plans for a welcome-home celebration, citing security concerns. And on Saturday the FBI said Bergdahl's family had received threats that are being investigated by federal, state and local authorities.

The U.S. official told the AP that Bergdahl's parents were being harassed and threatened, including death threats.




Of course he says that. Did you expect him to say I gave them top secret information regarding my platoon and they let me shoot their guns...and I spoke to them in Arabic..and so on the so forth?

Licorice Schtick

This will be sad. In their unrelenting "politics over Country" policy, Obama's critics will now choose to take terrorists at their word.

Remember when Dubya was President and EVERY criticism of foreign policy was framed as "endangering or troops"?

But now, Republicans second-guess and criticize every minute detail of every foreign policy decision, because, you know, politics first...


Do you have any proof that he did any of that, or just talking out your a--?

Darwin's choice

BondgirlM's comments have the same exact validity....!


Bottom line, he left his guard post in the middle of a combat area placing the rest of his platoon in jeopardy. Court Martial is called for!!!!


do you have any proof he didn't? this sucker is a coward and a betrayer of the USA!


He declared himself a warrior of Islam. I tried to put together with above, but kept triggering spam filter.


6 soilders lost their lives looking for him after he walked away during combat! He doesn't deserve to call himself a infantryman!

Pterocarya frax...

Absolutely false.......but don't let that get in the way of you hating the President.


I gave 8 years defending The Constitution and he has ignored his oath to do the same, many times. So I will continue to feel as I please. He is a traitor as well as this coward we are discussing.


I never thought I would believe a taliban member over an "american citizen".

red white and blue

Maybe obama will give him a life time achievement award for being a trader like he is doing for jane fonda


trader???? - try "traitor"


Defector also, carried a weapon, played soccer and now he cries, poor baby !

The Big Dog's back

You wouldn't have lasted a day there.


Hey big shot, how many years did you serve. I served eight and many of them were POW's and none of them defected. I have asked you before and you never responded, so I guess you have no idea of the military. Your handle should be Big Mouth.


Puppy poo didn't serve, he doesn't have the stones. But he is sure quick to comment on things he knows nothing about. Remember, liberals have no duty to country or honor. They just sit around thinking of more ways to ruin the country.

Darwin's choice

He sounds just like this fellow....


Many prominent Republicans were 100% for trading Gitmo prisoners for Bergdahl. That is, until Obama did exactly that.

From "Real Time with Bill Maher":
Blacktracking (n.): the act of changing one's mind when you learn that Obama agreed with you.


Re: "Many prominent Republicans were 100% for trading Gitmo prisoners for Bergdahl."

Got some credible references?

Maherist (n): One who adheres to the thinking of Bill Maher.


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Then:
“I would support. Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home, and if exchange was one of them, I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.” February, 2014

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Now:
“This decision to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home – and we applaud that he is home – is ill-founded … it is a mistake, and it is putting the lives of American servicemen and women at risk. And that to me is unacceptable.” June, 2014


@ Contango.
Why do you constantly put down Bill Maher? He says things I agree with and things I disagree with. I even agree with SOME things you say.


Re: "Bill Maher"

I've tried on numerous occasions, but I can't stand to listen to or watch that smarmy SOB.

He's got his head so far up Pres. Obama's butt, he can't see straight.

I did enjoy his show on ABC where he had 'actual' intelligent debate.

I understood his comment about the 9-11 terrorists 'bravery,' but his timing stunk.


Re: references, it was in literally every newspaper and media outlet in America, most notably Fox News. A quick Google search of "John McCain Bowe Bergdahl" brought up 7,560,000 hits.

My favorite: "McCain's Reversals on Bowe Bergdahl"

Thanks for the compliment re: my being a Bill Maher fan. I do enjoy anyone who calls B.S. on the conservative establishment.


Thanks for the reply.

You expect different from 'any' politician?


Re: "Bill Maher fan,"

Obviously a deep disturbing sign of lack of critical thinking skills, where one must rely on an entertainer in order to seek one's formative thought.


"lack of critical thinking skills, where one must rely on an entertainer in order to seek one's formative thought." - Not necessarily relying on an entertainer for thought, but an entertainer to see different views/thoughts to spur formative thought and critical thinking.

Licorice Schtick

Don't worry about Contango. It's normal for him to change the subject and hurl insults, because his positions are pretty much indefensible.


Exactly. I listen to both news outlets and comedians who opine on newsworthy topics.

See, the difference is this: we on the Left understand that Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert are entertainers/comedians.
Those on the Right don't understand that Fox News is also entertainment and NOT news. The funny thing is that the people who WORK FOR Fox understand this, but the people who watch it do not.

Maher is more middle-of-the-road than rightwingers would believe anyway. On his show this past Friday, he listed several problems he has with Obama and then stated, "Obama is not my boyfriend. But he is a far better option than Romney or McCain".


Great comment!

The Big Dog's back

Wow pooh. Seems like everyone has caught on to you. ROFLMAO!

The Big Dog's back

Really sad how these right wingnuts vilify a United States Of America soldier.


They only person they are trying to vilify is POTUS. He just so happens to be the easiest target to their eventual goal right now. They don't care who is in their way as long as it gets them their way (this is proven time and time again from everything from religion/LGBT issues to POTUS decisions to banking/economy reform).


The Dums are smart. Repubs are Pro Life, Dums say they are against women. Repubs. try to control spending, Dums say they are against poor. Dums, criticize Bozo , they are racists. Hillary, Kerry, Reid, Pelosi, Feinstein and Bozo represent the most corrupt government in this country ever. Here is a story on the defector.


Let's not be hasty. Give this time Who knows the whole story?


Maher also pointed out a couple of things regarding the 5 Taliban prisoners who were "set free". First of all, as he pointed out, it's not like we (the U.S.) could drone Gitmo. However, those fella's are going to now have to spend the rest of their lives looking up. He also questioned why they were never put on trial--could it be because there was no proof of any act of terrorism, or maybe they'd testify about their torture. The big difference is though, they were members of the Taliban--NOT Al Quaeda.