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US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (R) waits before being released at the Afghan border, in this still image from video released June 4, 2014. — File photo
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (R) waits before being released at the Afghan border, in this still image from video released June 4, 2014. — File photo

American troops were fully prepared to enter Pakistani territory in order to secure the release of US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl but restrained themselves due to the absence of actionable intelligence, BBC Urdu quoted a former Pentagon official as saying.

David Sedney, who until last year served as the Pentagon’s top official overseeing policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, told BBC that when Bergdahl was taken hostage in 2009, the first attempt was to prevent him from being taken to Pakistan.

He, however, added that once Bergdahl had been taken to Pakistan, it became difficult to negotiate his release and therefore assistance was sought from the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture in 2009 are ambiguous while Pentagon claims that he left the military outpost in Paktika province without seeking permission.

Sedney said they were aware that Bergdahl was held captive by the Haqqani network, adding that the US also knew that a certain relationship existed between the ISI and the Haqqani network.

“I am not aware of receiving any assistance from Pakistan on the matter,” he said.

He said Bergdahl was held captive on Pakistani soil and the organisation which had information of his whereabouts was associated with the country.

“As such, it was their responsibility to ensure his release,” he said.

He said that Pakistan did not do anything to ensure his recovery and in future whenever relations between Pakistan and US would come under deliberation, this issue would be focused upon.

Sedney said discussions in the US concerning the agreement to secure Bergdahl’s release were becoming more heated after a video released by the Taliban as to whether this was the only way to free him.

According to the Washington Post, officials discovered evidence pertaining to Bergdahl’s location in Pakistan at least twice, adding that there was debate in Washington as to whether an incursion inside Pakistani territory should be carried out to release him.

Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then-CIA Director Leon Panetta were responsible for managing the investigations in Pakistan.

Sedney said that after the operation against Osama bin Laden in Abottabad, matters had become more difficult as US relations with the Pakistani army had already deteriorated.

He said the Pakistani army had issued orders that US helicopters should be shot down if they were seen flying on its territory. Sedney said they required solid information to devise a strategy in this regard, which was not available at the time.

Therefore, he said, Sergeant Bergdahl remained in the captivity of the Haqqani network for five years and the US government even exerted pressure on its Pakistani counterpart for his release.

Sedney was of the view that such a situation arose because the Pakistani government gave greater importance to its relations with the Haqqani network, adding that if the former had decided to help US on Bergdahl’s release, then their relations would have taken a turn for the better.

Meanwhile, an event to celebrate the homecoming of Bergdahl in his hometown of Hailey, after five years of Taliban captivity, was cancelled. The reasons cited for the cancellation were that firstly, large numbers of people would have been unable to attend the event due to security concerns and secondly some detractors have accused Berghadl of deserting his post.

Comments (25) Closed

Interesting Comment Jun 05, 2014 12:51pm

Good. Now that you are in America, stay there.

Sunil Jun 05, 2014 01:41pm

New reports are emerging about US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, that he deserted his post in Afghanistan.There is no welcome home for him in Idaho.

Rathore Jun 05, 2014 02:59pm

Don't come to this part of the world again. This is our backyard.

Taimoor Khan Jun 05, 2014 03:06pm

So the American released five hardcore Talibans for the release of a deserter? What about those 20 Pakistani paramilitary personal who were abducted back in 2010 and taken inside Afghanistan and this year they were all brutally murdered. Isn't American responsible for the death of our men as it was solely their responsibility being an occupation force of Afghanistan?

Naren - USA Jun 05, 2014 03:26pm

This guy and his dad are traitors

Analyst Jun 05, 2014 03:42pm

Its always good to mention the relevant information i.e. why he left the US Base. This is an excerpt from his last email to his parents;

"The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."

June 27, 2009

Khan Jun 05, 2014 04:01pm

Ya ya ya ya ya.

US had no clue wher he was held......... They are just trying to save face.

khanm Jun 05, 2014 04:06pm

@Rathore ... please clean it up it is very messy...

Assad Jun 05, 2014 04:09pm

@Rathore .. Yeah ? And how will you stop them. The same way stopped them from hunting down Osama a few miles away from the military academy?

khanm Jun 05, 2014 04:12pm

@Analyst ... truth is seldom told... what exactly the truth is ... you will never know... hush hush keep quiet. if you don't know it never happened

unbelievable Jun 05, 2014 04:54pm

Bad enough you provide Haqqani sanctuary - shameful that you allowed American prisoner to be held on Pakistan territory. And you wonder why your considered duplicitous and ranked below N Korea by the rest of the World?

Ali Jun 05, 2014 04:56pm

@Assad - which Osama? Did you see any proof? Just tell me what happened to the bullet casing after one hour of shooting in that compound?

A2Z Jun 05, 2014 05:11pm

A statement to cover up the insult US is facing on exchange of high level prisoners.

Yaqoot Jun 05, 2014 05:36pm

More misinformation

Frankenstine Jun 05, 2014 05:43pm

there is a debate that he deserted from his post and from 2-6 soldiers died trying to finding him... so I suggest USA to put there house in order first.

Iqbal bhai Jun 05, 2014 05:59pm

Good story to cover up why he left the base without permission.

Youth Jun 05, 2014 06:03pm

I think US should leave afghanistan and go back for good. fighting a stupid war has not given US any edge.

independentthinker Jun 06, 2014 12:32am

But I am sure our military was also prepared to safeguard our borders and not let any foreign power touch our soil!

TJH Jun 06, 2014 05:37am

@Ali Dear Ali, the whole incident occurred in your country in front of your eyes. Your police, army etc carried out an investigation, didnt it? What was their report? There were women and children recovered from that house...right? Why did they not speak out and say what you claim? Where are the women n kids now?

Joe FL Jun 06, 2014 08:46am


(quoting you) "Don't come to this part of the world again. This is our backyard."

Funny you say that about USA and Nato. Funny you didn't say that about Bin Laden in Abbottabad. Funny you didn't think to say it about Omar the One-Eyed. And even funnier you didn't say it about the jihadist Saudis, Chechens, Dagestanis, Uzbeks et al, who have joined the Al Qaeda extortionists, narcotics traffickers, and terrorists in your own backyard.

Suggestion: take a look at your backyard.

Blue jersey Jun 06, 2014 10:31am

US is concerned only about their military personnel and gives a damn about other people's lives.

MARIA MUREE Jun 07, 2014 06:06am

@Joe FL

Yes "Joe" from Florida, take a look at our great democracy in Pakistan where our media is free and little old frail Quaker elderly ladies don't get manhandled and thrown in jail for exercising their freedom of speech against a fascist power which kills millions of innocent Muslims in the name of "freedom" and "democracy " !!

Mekal Faruki Jun 07, 2014 12:51pm

David Sedney's comments are uncalled for and a violation of US military OPSEC. Sedney was probably removed from his position for abuse of office. Sedney it appears has an axe to grind most likely a Pakistan hater bent on sowing discord. In reply to Sedney, it would be past infantile for Sedney not consider that Pakistan equally has contingency plans for incursions into Afghanistan in case Pentagon caution falls by the wayside. Sedney is correct that orders have been issued to shoot on sight any US forces making incursions into Pakistan, and appropriately Pentagon ditched the reckless planning. Sedney you have been parked by the Pentagon and for good reason.

Ali Jun 07, 2014 06:00pm

@TJH - and where are they? You believe the news what u want to. I am not saying you are wrong but my friend i offered to do a free DNA test but there were no samples. I feel sorry for you. Anyways even if he was there, he was inside the compound and we have a free country and do not watch inside people houses

Ali Jun 07, 2014 06:03pm

@TJH - and by the way i never saw anything but you believe what u want to. You Sorry soul