All Boards => Guest Posting Area => Topic started by: bubba on 06 09, 14, 06:36:43:AM

Title: Bergdahl accusations collapsing under facts
Post by: bubba on 06 09, 14, 06:36:43:AM
Did 6 Soldiers Really Die Looking for Bergdahl?
By Reuters
Filed: 6/9/14 at 6:02 AM
June 09, 2014

WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) - The frantic search for Bowe Bergdahl

began the moment his comrades discovered he was no longer inside the

fragile outpost in a rock-strewn valley in one of the most hostile

corners of Afghanistan.

Exactly why Bergdahl left is subject to intense scrutiny. But

accounts by two Taliban sources as well as several U.S. officials

and fellow soldiers raise doubt over media reports that he had

sought to join the Taliban, and over suggestions that the deaths

later that year of six soldiers in his battalion were related to the

search for him.

His dramatic release on May 31 after five years in captivity in

return for five Taliban commanders sparked a national controversy

over whether President Barack Obama paid too high a price for his

freedom. That was fueled by allegations by some in his battalion

that he was a deserter, and that soldiers died because they were

looking for him after his disappearance in the early hours of June

30, 2009.

While many questions remain, a Reuters reconstruction of his

disappearance indicates that at the time when Bergdahl’s six

comrades in the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry

Regiment were killed in August and September 2009, his fallen

comrades were on other missions like securing the Afghan elections

and, according to one U.S. military official, the period of

intensive ground searches had already ended.   

But several soldiers in his unit say the quest to locate him never

really ended, and that it was an element of every mission they

undertook, prompting some to blame the deaths on him.

    The U.S. Army has declined to give an account of those fraught

weeks saying a new investigation will be conducted when Bergdahl,

now being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, is able to

take part.

    An initial investigation noted that Bergdahl had slipped away

from his base in the past, once during training in California, only

to return a short while later, according to people familiar with its

classified findings.   

    His disappearance in June 2009 came at a time of increasing

attacks on U.S. forces from a resurgent Taliban: there were nearly

200 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan between the time of his

disappearance and the end of 2009.

    He had been on guard duty in one of the armored trucks parked in

a circle on a dry riverbed to form a crude outpost in one of the

most hostile corners of Afghanistan, in Paktika province along the

border with Pakistan, according to several of his fellow soldiers.

    They described him as a bookish loner who would rather learn

Pashto than drink beer. Bergdahl, they said, had few close friends

in the unit. "He definitely was very reserved, an introvert," said

former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a team leader in Bergdahl's platoon.

    At roll call that morning, it became quickly apparent that he

was missing - though his gun, ammunition and body armor had been

left behind.

Title: Re: Bergdahl accusations collapsing under facts
Post by: bubba on 06 09, 14, 06:37:31:AM

    After searching the trucks, latrines, bunkers and quarters of

Afghan National Police stationed with them, the platoon radioed in a

missing-person report and immediately set out to search for him.

Within two and a half hours, infantry units had fanned out to set up

roadblocks and search nearby villages.

    The area was tense. Three days earlier, Pakistani warplanes had

launched a new offensive against the Taliban just across the border

in South Waziristan, killing at least a dozen Taliban fighters in a

rugged region known for heavily armed tribesmen and camps harboring

al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

    As the search got under way, Vierkant, Bergdahl's fellow platoon

member, encountered two village children who said they had seen an

American in Army clothes crawling through the weeds.

    At about 2:30 p.m., a U.S. listening post picked up radio

chatter indicating that an American soldier with a camera was

looking for someone who could speak English, according to U.S.

military records published by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks. Three

hours later, they heard a U.S. soldier had been captured.

    Taliban sources say they found Bergdahl walking alone after

receiving a tip from local villagers.

    "Our people didn't understand what he was saying at first

because they don’t speak English. But later when they took him to a

safe location, we realized that he wasn't happy with his people and

that's why he left them," a Taliban commander based in the Pakistani

city of Quetta told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

   The next night, Afghan National Police at the outpost where

Bergdahl had disappeared received a radio call from the Taliban

saying they wanted to trade 15 prisoners for the American, the

military reports said.

    Four days after that, the Army received a tantalizing tip -

Bergdahl had been spotted in a black Toyota Corolla, flanked by men

on motorcycles. He was wearing dark khaki clothing with a bag over

his head.

    That was the closest they would get for another five years.

    Taliban fighters moved Bergdahl to Angoor Adda, a border town

between South Waziristan in Pakistan and Afghanistan's Paktika

province. He was then taken to South Waziristan and later to the

Shawal valley, a forested, mountainous area between North and South

Waziristan, a Taliban commander based in Helmand province told


    Bergdahl did not show any interest in converting to Islam or

joining the Taliban during those early weeks of his captivity, the

commander said. 

    "We didn't trust him as he could have been a spy. There were

frequent drone strikes in the tribal areas and that's why we were

afraid of him," he said.

    Bergdahl has told U.S. authorities he was held in solitary

confinement for long periods. The New York Times reported that he

told medical officials in Germany he was kept in a metal cage in the

dark for weeks after he tried to escape.

Title: Re: Bergdahl accusations collapsing under facts
Post by: bubba on 06 09, 14, 06:38:36:AM

    Bergdahl's regiment searched for him at a frantic pace for

several weeks. Where before troops might have had several days of

down time to recharge between missions, now they would only return

to their base for four to six hours - just enough time to gather

more equipment and take a shower. Then it was back to the desert for

another mission.

    "When he walked off, everything changed throughout the whole

province of Paktika. The mission for us and for everybody else was

find Bergdahl as fast as you can," Vierkant said.

    Soldiers had to cope with temperatures that regularly climbed

above 100 degrees Farenheit (38 C) and fine sand - known as "moon

dust" - that worked its way into eyes, ears, and lungs, causing

respiratory infections.

    "It looked like I walked through a big bag of baby powder," said

former Specialist Billy Rentiers, who participated in the search as

part of Easy Company, a support unit in the 501st regiment.

    The increased number of missions at that time left troops

vulnerable to attack more often, forcing them to step beyond the

security of their outposts into hostile terrain, said several

soldiers involved in the search.

    Ambushes appeared to become more frequent and sophisticated

during this time, the soldiers said.

    In mid-July, military officials called off the dedicated ground

search and gave soldiers other primary missions after concluding

that Bergdahl had been taken to Pakistan, according to a U.S.

military official speaking on condition of anonymity. The official

said some Bergdahl-related surveillance continued for about another

month, and soldiers were also told to keep an eye out and to ask

about Bergdahl while carrying out primary missions.



    It was in mid-August that the battalion, still in Paktika

province, started taking casualties. On Aug. 18, a roadside bomb

killed Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class

Morris Walker, 23.

    Bowen's mother, Reesa Doebbler, says she was told by her son's

former comrades that he was on a mission to provide election

security, an account confirmed by other sources, including a U.S.

military official. Reuters was unable to contact Walker's family.

Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, died on Sept. 6 while setting

up a security camp after a day spent distributing humanitarian aid,

said Jack Kessna, a former member of Bergdahl's Blackfoot Company

who has worked with other former soldiers to determine the cause of

the deaths. Kessna said Murphrey's death could not be linked

directly to the search.

    Murphrey's sister, Krisa, said she was never given official

information about his mission after his death and had to rely on

accounts by her brother's comrades.

    "Some say that he was not on a rescue mission, that he was on a

humanitarian mission. And then some say that, sure it wasn’t a

rescue mission, per se, but Bergdahl was always the secondary

mission," she told Reuters.

    Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, was shot on Aug. 26 while his

unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack.

Reuters was not able to contact Curtiss' family.

    On Sept. 4, Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, died when

enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a roadside bomb and a

rocket-propelled grenade. Private First Class Matthew Martinek, 20,

died a week later from wounds sustained in the same attack. The

parents of both Andrews and Martinek told Reuters last week they

believe their sons died searching for Bergdahl, saying they were

told this by other soldiers in the platoon.

    Former Private First Class Jose Baggett, who normally sat next

to Andrews on every mission as driver and radio telephone operator,

had been injured when a roadside bomb hit his truck on a previous

mission. Martinek took his place.

    "I even remember helping him pack his gear for the mission,"

Baggett said. "Worst day of my life to date."

   Baggett says he doesn't think the death of the two soldiers, or

anybody else, can be directly linked to the search. Even if Bergdahl

had not walked off, the battalion still could have taken casualties

during its 12-month tour of Afghanistan, he says.

    A U.S. military official said that, like the other casualties,

the two men were not engaged in a search for Bergdahl but were on a

logistics mission.

    Vierkant believes otherwise.

"It was what every mission was, every day: find Bergdahl," he said.

Title: Re: Bergdahl accusations collapsing under facts
Post by: caserio1 on 06 11, 14, 11:26:56:AM
anything to make obama look bad

especially lies