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The Manchurian Soldier

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Robert Spencer - published on 06/03/14 - updated on 06/08/17

The case of Bowe Bergdahl is something straight out of Showtime's "Homeland."

The Obama administration’s narrative about the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network since the summer of 2009, began to unravel almost immediately. The shadowy Taliban leader Mullah Omar called what was supposed to have been a mutually agreeable prisoner exchange a “big victory” and exclaimed: “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Afghan Muslim nation.”

Omar was happy because the terms of the exchange were favorable to him, and gave him back some of his key men — including Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of intelligence; senior Taliban commander Mullah Norullah Nori; Khairullah Khairkhwa, a close associate of Osama bin Laden who had been the Taliban’s interior minister; Mohammed Nabi, the Taliban’s former chief of security in the city of Qalat; and Mohammad Fazl, under whose leadership the Taliban massacred Afghan Shi’ites wholesale while the Taliban held power in 2000 and 2001.

All the Taliban had to give up for this group of ardent and accomplished jihadists was a man who was apparently markedly sympathetic to them. It was revealed Monday that just says before he left his unit, Bergdahl wrote to his father: “I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.” He declared: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

His father responded: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!” Bergdahl apparently did by deserting and seeking out the Taliban. Nathan Bradley Bethea, a former infantry officer who served with Bowe Bergdahl, wrote in the Daily Beast on Monday that “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.” Bethea refuted reports that Bergdahl got separated from his unit while on patrol: “Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon — including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

The Pentagon concluded the same thing in 2010: “Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.” This official said that the evidence that Bergdahl had deserted was “incontrovertible.”

His action was not entirely unexpected. James Rosen of Fox News reported Monday that Bergdahl — “both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of ‘a major classified file.’ In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”

Also, the Taliban claimed in 2010 that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and was teaching bomb-making to its jihadists. His father, Robert Bergdahl, also seems to be a convert to Islam, as during the ceremony with Obama in the Rose Garden announcing the exchange, he proclaimed: “Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim” — the phrase, “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful,” which is the heading of 113 of the Koran’s 114 chapters.

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AfghanistanIslamist Militants
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