PENTAGON — The U.S. military is trying to minimize information leaking out on the recovery of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, even as details of his captivity at the hands of the Taliban are going public. It is part of an ongoing effort to shield Bergdahl from media spotlight.
It has now been more than a week since Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. Special Forces and taken out of Afghanistan.
But Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren says Bergdahl, who is recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, has yet to have the long-awaited phone call with his parents.
“This decision to speak with the family is a decision the returnee has to make when he or she is emotionally in the right place to make this phone call,” he said.
Media reports say the 28-year-old Bergdahl has started to open up to the team directing his care, telling of being caged after trying to escape and of other harsh treatment.
And while he has been treated for skin and gum ailments, Pentagon officials say Bergdahl is in stable condition, improving every day, though Colonel Warren says the military is in no rush to send him back to the United States.“The phase two reintegration process simply takes as long as it takes,” he said. “Every phase two integration is different. There is no set timeline.”
Interest in Bergdahl’s case has intensified since the deal securing his release was announced 10 days ago, with several soldiers from his platoon accusing him of deserting.
Lawmakers have also been critical, saying U.S. President Barack Obama paid too high a price, releasing five high-risk Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to testify before lawmakers about the deal Wednesday.
Jeff Seldin works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States.