The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

June 8, 2014

Bergdahl says he was tortured by Taliban captors

PARIS — U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has told people treating him at an American military medical facility in Germany that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape, a senior U.S. official said Sunday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss what Bergdahl has revealed about the conditions of his captivity. The New York Times first reported on the matter.

The official said it was difficult to verify the accounts Bergdahl has given since his release a week ago.

Bergdahl, now 28, was captured in June 2009 after he disappeared from his infantry unit. He was held for nearly five years by Taliban militants.

Taliban spokesmen could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. On Friday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press by telephone that Bergdahl was held under "good conditions." The claim could not be independently verified.

Military doctors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center say that while Bergdahl is physically able to travel he's not yet emotionally prepared to be reunited with his family. He has not yet spoken to his family.

It's unclear when he may get to go home.

The Pentagon said in a statement Sunday that it would not comment on Bergdahl's discussions with those caring for him.

Typically, a returned captive would spend from five days to three weeks in the phase of reintegration in which Bergdahl now finds himself, according to a Pentagon psychologist who is an expert in dealing with military members who have been released from captivity said this past week. The psychologist spoke to reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.

Once Bergdahl is considered ready to move on to the next phase of his decompression, he is expected to be flown to an Army medical center in San Antonio, where it is believed he will be reunited with his family.

Bergdahl was returned to the U.S. military in exchange for the release of five Taliban militants from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Qatar, a tiny Gulf state, served as a go-between during the negotiations, and has ongoing role in ensuring the five released prisoners remain there for at least a year, under a memo of understanding with the U.S.

The Qataris aren't "the only ones keeping an on eye on them," Kerry said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

He said the U.S. has confidence in the restrictions imposed on the former detainees, as a condition of their release.

"I am not telling you that they don't have some ability at some point to go back and get involved" in the terrorism fight against the United States, Kerry said.

"But they also have an ability to get killed doing that, and I don't think anybody should doubt the capacity of the United States of America to protect Americans. ... So these guys pick a fight with us in the future or now or at any time at enormous risk," Kerry said.

The deal, which the Obama White House pulled off without adhering to a law requiring 30 days' notice before the release of Guantanamo detainees, ignited a political firestorm that shows no signs of abating.

Lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, who initially praised Bergdahl's release backed off amid questions about whether he was a deserter who walked away from his post and an outcry over the exchange.

Some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers maintain that Americans died during efforts to find and save him. Also, there is great concern that the high-level Taliban officials will resume activities with the Taliban and threaten members of the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

"I just think that's a lot of baloney," said Kerry, noting that the U.S. will be ending its combat role in Afghanistan and will have fewer people in positions of risk.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, who was held prisoner during the Vietnam War, agreed with Kerry that the U.S. should do all it can to win the release of any American being held, "but not at the expense of the lives or well-being of their fellow servicemen and women."

He told CNN that "when we join the military, we know we take certain risks, and among those risks are wounding, death, imprisonment."

On Wednesday, Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, abruptly canceled plans for a welcome-home celebration, citing security concerns. And on Saturday the FBI said Bergdahl's family had received threats that are being investigated by federal, state and local authorities.

The U.S. official told the AP that Bergdahl's parents were being harassed and threatened, including death threats.

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Indianapolis mayor backs tax to hire more officers

    Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is seeking a tax increase to pay for hiring more police officers as part of a wide-ranging response to the city's recent surge in deadly violence.

    July 30, 2014

  • Colts Camp update: Will injured players return?

    Cornerback Vontae Davis and safety LaRon Landry have yet to participate in a training camp practice, and running back Trent Richardson has missed four straight after running through drills on opening day. Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano doesn't want to rush any of those players back onto the field. But he made it clear Wednesday morning at Anderson University that he hopes to see them back soon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators

     New York City officials are turning up the heat on Elmo, Cookie Monster and Statue of Liberty impersonators — Times Square costumed characters who often demand money for posing in photos with tourists.

    July 30, 2014

  • US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence wants immigrant children taken out of state

    Gov. Mike Pence is asking that more than 200 immigrant children placed in Indiana be deported and chiding President Barack Obama for not alerting him of the placements.

    July 30, 2014

  • Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the school's famed basketball arena.

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior housing project advances If all the pieces fall into place within the next two weeks, construction on a new senior housing development could begin this fall.

    July 30, 2014

  • Officials: Indiana sheriff gave prostitute uniform

    A southern Indiana sheriff accused of patronizing a prostitute gave the woman a deputy's badge and uniform so she could get hotel discounts, then later encouraged her to get rid of the evidence, authorities said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Three-drink limit for beer, wine at Indiana Fair

    Strict limits will be in place when the Indiana State Fair sells alcoholic drinks for the first since 1946 when its 17-day run begins Friday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

    For nearly two months, images of immigrant children who have crossed the border without a parent, only to wind up in concrete holding cells once in United States, have tugged at heartstrings. Yet most Americans now say U.S. law should be changed so they can be sent home quickly, without a deportation hearing.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Now that Andrew Luck is getting ready to start the third year of his NFL career, did the Colts make the right decision to release Peyton Manning and turn the offense over to Luck?

Yes, the future is bright.
No, the Colts would have won another Super Bowl by now if they had kept Manning.
Don't know; don't care
     View Results