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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion and 'Misbehavior Before the Enemy'

Bergdahl walked off his military base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Pakistani Taliban for five years before he was freed in exchange for five Gitmo detainees.
Photo by Voice Of Jihad Website/AP

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier held captive by the Pakistani Taliban for five years before he was freed last spring in exchange for the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees, has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Bergdahl, who left his military base in Afghanistan in 2009 at the age of 28 and later showed up in the hands of Pakistan's Haqqani network, was notified of his charges on Tuesday, according to lawyer, Eugene Fidell. Military officials are expected to hold a briefing on the decision this afternoon.


After Bergdahl's release in May 2014, the US Army opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Some of his fellow service members have accused him of being a deserter who knowingly walked away from his base in Paktika province prior to being taken hostage.

Related: What Congress really told the White House about the Bowe Bergdahl swap

The investigation ended in October and the Army Forces Command subsequently reviewed the findings to inform their decision about whether to charge the Idaho native.

The prisoner swap that freed Bergdahl stirred controversy almost as soon as it was completed. Republicans, including Senator John McCain, criticized the White House for releasing "hardcore" Taliban members. The Pentagon was also accused of violating legal guidelines that require a month's notice to legislators before exchanging prisoners.

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB