WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was held in solitary confinement for long periods during five years in Taliban captivity, according to a U.S. military official who also said the soldier suffers skin and gum ailments, emotional distress and has not yet spoken to his parents.
Bergdahl, who was released on May 31 to American forces in exchange for five Taliban detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison, is being treated at the U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
The U.S. military official told Reuters the 28-year-old is physically well enough to travel back to the United States for treatment. He is suffering from disorders affecting his skin and gums that could be expected after his long captivity, the official said, confirming a report in The New York Times.
The newspaper reported on Sunday that Bergdahl told medical officials in Germany the Taliban kept him in a metal cage in the dark for weeks after he tried to escape.
Bergdahl, who was a private when he was captured, does not like being called a sergeant, the rank he was promoted to while in captivity, the military official told Reuters. The soldier is struggling with some emotional issues and has not spoken to his parents, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The exchange deal with the Taliban, which was brokered by Qatar, has provoked an angry backlash in Congress over the Obama administration’s failure to notify lawmakers in advance that Taliban prisoners were leaving the Guantanamo prison camp. The former inmates were sent to Qatar, where they will remain for at least a year with restrictions.