UPDATE: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Will Face Court-Martial for Desertion, Misbehavior Charges

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Michelle Tan reports: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been recommended for trial by general court-martial, the Army announced Monday.

Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could face life in prison.

The case was referred to court-martial by Gen. Robert Abrams, commanding general of Forces Command and the court-martial convening authority in the case.

A date for his arraignment hearing has not been announced. The hearing is expected to take place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where FORSCOM has its headquarters.

“The convening authority did not follow the advice of the preliminary hearing officer who heard the witnesses,” Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement.

Bergdahl’s defense team “had hoped the case would not go in this direction. We will continue to defend Sgt. Bergdahl as the case proceeds.”

The Army’s announcement comes days after “Serial,” one of the nation’s most popular podcasts, launched its series on Bergdahl. The first episode of the series features snippets of conversations between the soldier and filmmaker Mark Boal, who worked as a writer and producer on “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker.”

It’s the first time the public will hear directly from Bergdahl, at length, about his ordeal.

Bergdahl spent five years as a captive under the Taliban and was released last year in a controversial prisoner swap.

He was captured after disappearing from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika province, Afghanistan, on June 30, 2009. He has been accused of leaving his patrol base alone and intentionally before he was captured by Taliban insurgents. He was freed in a May 31, 2014, prisoner swap that also freed five Taliban leaders from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl was charged March 25 with one count of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty, and one count of misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. Read the rest of this entry »


Suicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans

Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber attacked a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 45 people, officials said.

Dozens more were wounded when the bomber, who was on foot and mingling with the crowd, detonated his explosives, said Mokhis Afgha, the spokesman for the governor of Paktika province.

“There were too many people gathered in the one place to watch the game. Dozens of others are wounded and we have reports that many of them are in critical condition.”

He said the attack happened during an inter-district volleyball tournament attended by large crowed in Yahyakhail district late Sunday afternoon.

“We need urgent help from the central government because we might need to transfer wounded people to Kabul for treatment.”

“There were too many people gathered in the one place to watch the game. Dozens of others are wounded and we have reports that many of them are in critical condition,” Afghan said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jake Tapper: Fellow Soldiers Call Bowe Bergdahl a Deserter and Not a Hero

“Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

—  Matt Vierkant

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to not only acknowledge his actions publicly but face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Read the rest of this entry »