WASHINGTON — Several news organizations are reporting that Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdal will be charged with desertion. Bergdahl was held captive by enemy forces for five years.
Bergdahl went missing on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, where he was deployed with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
An Army fact-finding investigation conducted in the months after his disappearance concluded he left his outpost deliberately and of his own free will, according to an official who was briefed on the report.
Speculation about the charge gained momentum after retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox’s Bill O’ Reilly that two separate military sources have confirmed to him that Bergdahl will be charged. “The army has come to the conclusion and Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion. I have been told that his attorney has been given a charge sheet. The sheet is a result of the investigation listing out the articles of the UCMJ which has been violated. The key violation is desertion. And this is done. Let me be clear. The army wants to pursue Bergdahl for this violation,” Shaffer said during the Fox interview.
Another senior military official told NBC news that Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan go beyond the lesser offense of absent without leave (AWOL) because he left his post in a combat zone, putting his fellow soldiers at risk.
At this time, the Department of Defense or the White House has not confirmed or denied any of these statements.
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