Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, is scheduled to return to the U.S. early Friday morning, NBC News reported.
Bergdahl will arrive at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas sometime after midnight, according to two senior defense officials. Bergdahl has been recovering at a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He is in the middle of a multi-phase process designed to help him reintegrate after so many years as a prisoner of war.
Bergdahl was released on May 31 in a prisoner exchange for five Taliban fighters. President Obama has faced angry criticism from Congress since the exchange became public.
Bergdahl has also faced personal attacks, from lawmakers and from soldiers, over reports that he walked off his post in June 2009. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said that those allegations will be dealt with after Bergdahl is further along in his recovery.
Hagel defended the deal at a congressional hearing Thursday. “Extraordinary circumstances” left Obama with no choice but to arrange the exchange without informing Congress 30 days before the swap, as the law says. “All of these decisions are part of the brutal, imperfect realities we all deal with in war,” he said.