Captured soldier Bergdahl refusing to speak to parents

This image from video made available by IntelCenter shows a Taliban propaganda video released  showing U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Photo / AP
This image from video made available by IntelCenter shows a Taliban propaganda video released showing U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Photo / AP

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier held captive by the Taliban for almost five years, has not spoken to his parents and is not emotionally prepared to reunite with his family.

According to US officials briefed on his condition, Sgt. Bergdahl received a letter from his sister but hasn't responded yet. Officials say the soldier is in "good enough physical condition" to return to the United States, but he's "not ready psychologically or emotionally" yet.

Bowe Bergdahl's parents Jani and Bob speak to the media shortly after his release from captivity. Photo / AP

The soldier also told US officials at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he is being treated, that he was tortured, beaten and kept in total darkness inside a cage after he tried to escape from his Taliban captors.

Sgt. Bergdahl is at the centre of a political in storm in the US where a group of Republicans, and some Democrats, have blasted the White House for agreeing to the prisoner-swap without consulting first with Congress and keeping the deal a secret.

The American hostage was freed in exchange for five Taliban detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

At the same time, some have questioned the circumstances of his capture in June 2009, suggesting that he left his post of his own will- that he, in effect, deserted. Some have said that the search for him thereafter led to the deaths of six US personnel.

Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating threats made against the soldier's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, who have not been seen in public since President Obama announced that their son had been liberated after five years in captivity at the hands of the Taliban.

They released a statement this morning thanking supporters for their prayers and kindness.

Family friend Debbie O'Neall emailed the statement on behalf of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's family.

"They would like to thank each and every Facebook supporter and friend for their prayers and kindness during not only the past 10 days but for the past 5 years," the statement read.

"It has meant the World to them. They ask that their privacy is respected as they continue on this new path with Bowe.

"They apologise for not being able to return each phone call, text, message, and email but please know they are very grateful for the love they are receiving from all of you."

O'Neall said she's not the family's spokesperson, but agreed to send out this one-time message at Bob and Jani Bergdahl's request.

Bergdahl's parents live in Hailey and the town has been swamped with hate mail and angry phone calls over circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's release.
- UK Independent, AP

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