US sergeant gone missing in Afghanistan may face court martial

Washington, Dec 24: The US Army's Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a captive of the Taliban in Afghanistan and was charged by some fellow troopers with desertion after being released in exchange for five Taliban officials imprisoned at Guantanamo, could be court-martialled, military authorities said.

On Tuesday, the army forwarded its investigation into the sergeant's disappearance from his security post in Afghanistan to Gen. Mark Miley, the competent authority to convene a court martial, said the Pentagon.


Miley will have to decide if there is probable cause for Bergdahl to be court-martialled or whether to dismiss the case and not proceed with the process.

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel was briefed on the findings of the investigation, though no details of the same have been disclosed.

"The army cannot discuss or disclose the findings of the investigation while disciplinary decisions are pending before commanders," said the Pentagon in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bergdahl, who was released by the Taliban in May in the prisoner swap, was accused by some members of his unit of intentionally abandoning his post and of being a deserter who deserves to be court-martialled.

A preliminary investigation by the Pentagon conducted shortly after he disappeared in 2009 concluded that Bergdahl, 28, left his post without permission. However, it made no mention of the sergeant's motive in doing so which is a key factor in desertion charges.

Following his release, the Pentagon launched a formal investigation into the disappearance of Bergdahl who his former colleagues describe as an idealist disillusioned by the mission in Afghanistan.

The sergeant was assigned to a desk job in July at an army base in San Antonio, Texas, after several weeks of medical and psychological examinations, and a reintegration programme.


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