Saving Sgt. Bergdahl: What’s known and what’s not

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In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban have released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan. The video, emailed to media on Wednesday, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing sitting in a pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns stand around the truck and on the hillside. That feel-good moment in the Rose Garden sure seems like a long time ago. Just a week after the president announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed in Afghanistan, details emerging about the soldier, the deal and how the rescue came together are only adding to the list of questions. A look at what’s known _ and unknown _ about saving Sgt. Bergdahl. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban have released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan. The video, emailed to media on Wednesday, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing sitting in a pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns stand around the truck and on the hillside. That feel-good moment in the Rose Garden sure seems like a long time ago. Just a week after the president announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed in Afghanistan, details emerging about the soldier, the deal and how the rescue came together are only adding to the list of questions. A look at what’s known _ and unknown _ about saving Sgt. Bergdahl. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

FILE – This May 31, 2014 file photo shows the parents of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Jani Bergdahl, left, and Bob Bergdahl, turn to President Barack Obama after he spoke in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 31, 2014, after the announcement that Bowe Bergdahl has been released from captivity in Afghanistan. Bergdahl, 28, had been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was handed over. That feel-good moment in the Rose Garden sure seems like a long time ago. Just a week after the president announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed in Afghanistan, details emerging about the soldier, the deal and how the rescue came together are only adding to the list of questions. A look at what’s known _ and unknown _ about saving Sgt. Bergdahl. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FILE – This June 4, 2014 file photo shows flags and balloons marking the release from captivity of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl adorn the sidewalk outside a shop in the soldier’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho. That feel-good moment in the Rose Garden sure seems like a long time ago. Just a week after the president announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed in Afghanistan, details emerging about the soldier, the deal and how the rescue came together are only adding to the list of questions. A look at what’s known _ and unknown _ about saving Sgt. Bergdahl. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff, File)

FILE – In this file image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, stands with a Taliban fighter in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban said Friday, June 6, 2014, that Bergdahl was treated well during the five years they held him captive and was even allowed to play soccer with the men holding him. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — That feel-good moment in the Rose Garden seems like a long time ago. Just a week after the president announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed in Afghanistan, details emerging about the soldier, the deal and how the rescue came together are only adding to the list of questions.

Why did Bergdahl leave his military post in the first place? Should he be punished as a deserter? Did U.S. troops die looking for him? Was the swap — Bergdahl’s freedom for that of five Taliban commanders — a good deal for the United States or the Taliban, or both? Did the U.S. negotiate with terrorists? Why did President Obama OK the prisoner swap? And why now?

A look at what’s known — and unknown — about saving Sgt. Bergdahl:

THE SOLDIER

On June 30, 2009, when he disappeared from his infantry unit, Bergdahl was a 23-year-old private first class who had been in Afghanistan just five months. Back home in central Idaho, he’d been known as a free spirit who worked as a barista and loved to dance ballet. After he disappeared, fellow soldiers recalled, he’d made some odd comments about the possibility of getting lost in the mountains and whether he could ship belongings home. Rolling Stone magazine later reported that Bergdahl had sent his parents emails suggesting he’d lost faith in the Army’s mission there and was considering deserting. By 2010, the Pentagon had concluded that Bergdahl had voluntarily walked away from his outpost. During the five years he was held by the Taliban, he was automatically bumped up in rank to sergeant. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Bergdahl’s next promotion to staff sergeant, which was to happen soon, is no longer automatic now that he has been freed.

THE CAPTORS

Within weeks of Bergdahl’s disappearance, video surfaced revealing that he had been taken captive by the Taliban, who were embroiled in a

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