US concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl walked away from his unit in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — From early in his captivity, there have been indications that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit in Afghanistan.

That was the conclusion of a Pentagon investigation in 2010, and a former senior defense official says after an initial flurry of searching, the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue the Idaho man.

Instead, the U.S. government decided to pursue negotiations to get him back over the five years of his captivity.

That track led to Bergdahl’s release over the weekend, in exchange for five terror suspects who had been held at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They’re now in Qatar.

Meanwhile, an officer who served in Bergdahl’s unit denies that Bergdahl had been on patrol the night he disappeared, as some reports have suggested. Nathan Bradley Bethea writes on the Daily Beast website that there was no patrol that night. Instead, he says Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty and fled the outpost on foot. In Bethea’s words, “he deserted.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said over the weekend those issues would be dealt with later.

Bergdahl remains in a military hospital in Germany.

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239-c-19-(Sagar Meghani (SAH’-gur meh-GAH’-nee), AP national security correspondent)-“leaving his post”-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports a former senior Pentagon official says a military investigation four years ago determined Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his Army unit before he was captured in Afghanistan. (2 Jun 2014)

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238-w-36-(Sagar Meghani (SAH’-gur meh-GAH’-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Colonel Steve Warren)–Days after he was released by militants in Afghanistan, a picture is emerging of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance in 2009. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (2 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO NY117: FILE – This undated file image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching, the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter. Instead, the U.S. government pursued negotiations to get him back over the following five years of his captivity — a track that led to his release over the weekend. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File) (19 Feb 2014)

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