WASHINGTON, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Army said Monday it has initiated an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan five years ago.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, an Army officer with Afghanistan combat experience, was appointed to lead the probe concerning the long-time Taliban captive, who was released on May 31 near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in an exchange for five Taliban detainees held at the American prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Army said in a statement.
The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority, it said.
"These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident. The investigating officer will have access to previously gathered documentary evidence, including the 2009 investigation" right after Bergdahl's capture, the statement said.
The Army's top priority remains Bergdahl's health and reintegration, the statement said. "We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration."
The investigating officer will not interview Bergdahl until the reintegration team clears such interaction, so no timeline for completion of the investigation has been set, it added.
Bergdahl disappeared from his post in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, and had been in Taliban hands for almost five years.
The Obama administration was getting heat from all sides after President Barack Obama announced the swap in early June. Some legislators have accused the administration of violating the law by failing to alert Congress of the release of prisoners from Guantanamo at least 30 days in advance.
Adding to the controversy is that Bergdahl may have deserted his post, a detail that came to light about two days after a White House celebration of his release. So far, Bergdahl has not made public comment on the circumstances of his disappearance and the U. S. Army has made no charges against him.
Bergdahl is now in a reintegration process at the San Antonio Military Medical Facility on Fort Sam Houston after spending nearly two weeks recuperating at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.