More than two months after he was released in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl got an opportunity to tell his side of the story Wednesday during a meeting with an Army general assigned to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his capture five years ago.
Army officials debriefed Bergdahl for intelligence and other purposes, but Wednesday's interview, conducted at a base in San Antonio, was the first opportunity for the Army to question him fully about the circumstances of how he was captured.
Bergdahl met with Army Gen. Kenneth Dahl Wednesday morning in San Antonio, where the soldier is currently based, the Army said. A second day of questioning will continue Thursday, the Army said.
Bergdahl was read his rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice before the questioning began, according to an Army statement.
The purpose of the interview was "to discuss the events surrounding his disappearance up to the point of capture in June 2009," according to the statement.
Some fellow soldiers have accused Bergdahl of walking off his post in Afghanistan without authorization. The Army is trying to determine whether he merely wandered too far from the base or should be charged with desertion.
The deal with the Taliban to release him prompted critics such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to accuse the Obama administration of negotiating with terrorists. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at the U.S. military detention center at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Navy base.
The Taliban fighters were turned over to the government of Qatar, where they must remain for a year under supervision, according to the terms of the exchange agreement.
Dahl was given a deadline of two months when he was assigned the investigation on June 16. However, Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, said he could be given an extension if the interview with Bergdahl yields leads that need to be followed up.
Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, had earlier said Bergdahl has been fully cooperative with the Army.
The Army had said it did not want to question Bergdahl about the circumstances of his capture until he had time to recover from his five-year ordeal. He returned to regular duty last month.