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Prosecutors Say U.S. Soldier Bergdahl Meant To Desert Afghan Post

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a former prisoner of war in Afghanistan held by the Taliban for five years before being swapped last year in a controversial prisoner exchange, deliberately left his post, military prosecutors said September 17.

The prosecutors told a preliminary court hearing that Bergdahl launched a plan that was weeks in the making and there is sufficient evidence to hold him for trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

"Under the cover of darkness, he snuck off the post," Major Margaret Kurz, a military prosecutor, said at the hearing in Texas.

It was Bergdahl's first court appearance since he was charged in March.

Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and was later captured by the Taliban.

The prosecutors said the search for Bergdahl was a massive effort that took over 45 days in difficult terrain. They said Bergdahl sent home personal belongings and told his family to expect something.

Bergdahl has denied he was trying to desert.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters