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January 27, 2015

Army soldier facing desertion charges

Was part of prisoner swap with Taliban

WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009 but was released last year in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, will be charged with desertion, according to NBC.

The television network, citing senior defense officials, said the charges could come within a week.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report, and Bergdahl's attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Last month, the Army said it sent the findings from its investigation to a U.S. general to decide whether to discipline the soldier, who spent five years in captivity after leaving his post.

He was released in May in exchange for five prisoners from the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The deal that led to his release was blasted by some Republicans, and some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers have labeled him a deserter.

If officials conclude that Bergdahl broke the U.S. military's rules, they could force him to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay accumulated during his captivity and give up future benefits.