Miranshah (Pakistan) (AFP) - Freed US soldier Bowe Bergdahl developed a love for Afghan green tea, taught his captors badminton, and even celebrated Christmas and Easter with the hardline Islamists, a Pakistani militant commander told AFP Sunday. Bergdahl, the only US soldier detained in Afghanistan since war began in 2001, was released Saturday in exchange for the freeing of five senior Taliban figures held at Guantanamo Bay, in a dramatic deal brokered by Qatar.
A commander of the Haqqani network, a militant outfit allied with the Taliban with ties to Al-Qaeda, on Sunday painted a picture of a man who adjusted to his new life by engaging with his captors while clinging to aspects of his own identity.
"He was fond of kawa (Afghan green tea). He drank a lot of kawa all day, which he mostly prepared himself," the commander told AFP by phone from an undisclosed location in Pakistan's tribal areas. Over time, Bergdahl, now 28, grew fluent in Pashto and Dari, he said.
Militant sources disagree over the circumstances surrounding his capture, but several -- then and now -- described him as being "drunk".
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demurred Sunday when asked by reporters if Bergdahl had gone AWOL (absent without leave) or deserted his post, saying only that "other circumstances that may develop, and questions -- those will be dealt with later".
"Sangeen kept him in Paktika, Paktia and parts of Khost before bringing him to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border," the Haqqani commander said, referring to districts located in eastern Afghanistan.....snip~
Freed US soldier celebrated Xmas, played badminton with captors
Should Bowe Bergdahl Be Court-Martialed? What say ye?