WASHINGTON, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Pentagon on Monday confirmed Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was released some 45 days ago through a U.S.-Taliban prison exchange deal after having been kept captive in Afghanistan for almost five years, has returned to regular duty at a military base.
Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, said in a statement that Bergdahl has returned to regular duty at the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, the U.S. state of Texas.
Bergdahl has completed the final phase of the reintegration process under the control of U.S. Army South, which lasted about six weeks, according to Warren.
"He will now return to regular duty within the command, where he can contribute to the mission," Warren said in the statement.
As the Army continues its investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture and disappearance, he is not restricted in any way, said Warren, insisting "He is a normal soldier."
An initial Army investigation into Bergdahl's disappearance in June 2009 did not conclude that he voluntarily left his installation, according to a DOD press briefing on the investigation last month.
During his captivity, Bergdahl was considered "missing/captured " by DOD, the briefing said.
Bergdahl was released on May 31 near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in an exchange for the five Taliban detainees held at the American prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Many Congress members criticized Obama's administration for failing to first consult with Congress about the swap.
U.S. government defended the release of the five Taliban detainees in exchange for the sole American soldier held captive in Afghanistan by saying information about Bergdahl's poor and declining health made acting on the exchange urgent and insisting any delay could derail the deal and further endanger Bergdahl.
As for the question about circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture and disappearance, DOD officials said that the soldier's recovery remains the top priority, and further investigation into his case will be carried out afterwards.