Swapped U.S. soldier returns home

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has confirmed that the . soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, freed in a controversial swap with the Afghan Taliban has returned to the ., after five years in captivity.

It said Bergdahl arrived on Friday on a flight to San Antonio, Texas, where he would continue treatment at the Brooke Army Medical Centre.

“Since release on May 31, Bergdahl has been treated in a . military hospital in Landstuhl, and he will be admitted at another military hospital,’’ it said.

Bergdahl handed over on May 31 in return for five senior Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.

The Pentagon said the soldier would continue the next phase of reintegration process.

“There is no timeline for this process. Our focus remains on health and well-being.” It said.

Bergdahl spent five years in the captivity of Afghan insurgents.

The exchange for the Taliban detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison resulted in an outcry led by opposition Republicans.

Critics of the exchange say . President Barack Obama gave up too many high-ranking detainees in the swap and carried out the exchange without prior notification of Congress.

Members of Bergdahl’ unit added fuel to the when they accused him of desertion.

Chuck Hagel, U.. Secretary defended the handling of the prisoner exchange, telling Congress that the frame for obtaining Bergdahl’ release narrow and uncertain, forcing the decision to proceed before congressional notification could be given.

“We grew increasingly concerned that any delay or any leak could derail the deal and endanger Sergeant Bergdahl,” he said.

Bergdahl disappearance a base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 has fuelled speculation that the soldier deserted his post before being captured and may face by military authorities. (Dpa/NAN)