Report: Sgt. Bergdahl Slipped Away From Unit in California

Unconfirmed Reports of Previous 'Disappearance' in Afghanistan Also

Those familiar with the content of a 35-page classified report on Bergdahl’s 2009 capture by the Taliban say that it included mention of an incident at Fort Irwin, in California, where he left the “designated range,” apparently to see a sunrise.

There was also mention of a possible incident in Afghanistan in earlier 2009, where he may or may not have left the outpost briefly and returned on his own. That putative incident, unlikely the California one, was never reported up the chain of command. The report made a point of criticizing the poor general discipline in Bergdahl’s unit before his capture.

Neighbors in Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, ID say that behavior was not unusual for him, and growing up he often would go on long walks by himself, sometimes going to the town of Ketchem, 18 miles away.

The stories add to speculation about claims Bergdahl may have been captured after having left the base, though it is unclear yet how the Taliban caught him. An intercept from Taliban officials claimed he was simply captured on the toilet, though several more elaborate, conflicting stories have been put forward as possible explanations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.