Bowe Bergdahl in stable condition as reintegration begins in U.S.
Soldier held by Taliban now needs predictability, control of his environment, army says
U.S. army officials say Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who returned to the U.S. on Friday, will work daily with health professionals after being held by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo said Bergdahl is in stable condition and will be staying at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
There is no timeline for reintegrating Bergdahl with his family, but DiSalvo said military officials have been working with the family since the soldier was captured to explain how reintegration might work.
Everything “will proceed at his pace,” DiSalvo told reporters gathered for a news conference.
Bergdahl was released last month in a controversial prisoner swap with the Taliban. He had been recovering at an army facility in Germany, before returning to American soil.
Col. Bradley Poppen, who addressed some of the reintegration team’s work, cautioned the longer people are held in captivity, the longer their reintegration usually takes.
Bergdahl needs predictability, control
“Everyone who comes out of captivity will have hurdles to face,” Poppen said, giving the example of something as simple as choosing what to eat — a daily decision that Bergdahl has been deprived of for years.
“He needs a sense of predictability and control of his environment,” Poppen said.
Col. Ronald Wool, who has been overseeing Bergdahl’s health, said he’s progressing well in terms of things like his diet, which started off with simple foods but now includes favourites like peanut butter.
DiSalvo and Wool were also asked about reports that Bergdahl had been struggling to speak English, but both said he’s still capable of speaking and understanding the language.
DiSalvo also said Bergdahl is still considered an active duty member of the U.S. army.
With files from The Associated Press