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Hero or deserter? Bergdahl debate rages in US

Published on Jun 3, 2014 6:50 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US political and military officials warmly welcomed Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release in Afghanistan, but questions about the circumstances of his kidnapping are becoming more insistent, with some soldiers accusing him of desertion.

From the White House to the Pentagon, officials have celebrated the recovery of the 28-year-old army sergeant from his Taleban captors, repeatedly citing the promise never to leave a soldier behind.

In his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, residents celebrated, with "Bowe's free at last" signs posted alongside the traditional yellow ribbons tied in a show of support for US troops.

But unease quickly set in in other quarters about just how Sgt Bergdahl was captured on June 30, 2009 in Afghanistan's eastern province of Paktika, where he was deployed at a forward operating base.

This still image provided on Dec 7, 2010 by IntelCenter shows the Taliban associated video production group Manba al-Jihad on Dec 7, 2010 release of US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (left), who has been held hostage by the Taliban since his disappearance from his unit on June 30, 2009. -- PHOTO: AFP
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