Newspaper article International New York Times

Sergeant Gives Inquiry Details of Taliban Capture

Newspaper article International New York Times

Sergeant Gives Inquiry Details of Taliban Capture

Article excerpt

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, after being warned that he did not have to say anything incriminating, discussed his disappearance from his unit in Afghanistan in 2009.

During his first interview with the United States Army general leading an investigation into his capture by the Taliban, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has described details of his disappearance from his tiny combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan five years ago.

The interview, on Wednesday in Texas, was the first time Sergeant Bergdahl had formally described those events since he was released by the Taliban to Special Operations troops in May and flown to Texas after five years of captivity.

As soon as the session began, the investigating officer, Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, warned Sergeant Bergdahl that he did not have to say anything that might incriminate himself. But the sergeant did not exercise his right to remain silent, one of his lawyers, Eugene R. Fidell, said in a brief telephone interview from Fort Sam Houston, Tex., where Sergeant Bergdahl is based.

"He has responded to every question asked of him, and he has been afforded an opportunity to tell his story," said Mr. Fidell, who attended the interview along with a military defense lawyer, Capt. Alfredo Foster.

"It has been a combination of a conversation and a narrative, and it has been entirely nonconfrontational," Mr. Fidell added. He said that General Dahl was "a skilled interviewer, and he immediately put everyone in the room at ease."

The Army appointed General Dahl to carry out what is known as an AR 15-6 investigation and compile a report on the disappearance of Sergeant Bergdahl, 28. The report will be sent up the chain of command, and it could lead to administrative or nonjudicial punishments, or court-martial. Superior officers could also conclude that no punishments are warranted. …

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