Backlash over the rescue of detained soldier Bowe Bergdahl continues, with platoon mates labelling him a deserter who abandoned his post.
Several comrades have spoken out against Bergdahl, blaming him for the death of six soldiers who were killed in subsequent searches for him.
“Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him,” a member of Bergdahl’s platoon told CNN.
Accounts of how Bergdahl disappeared in 2009 vary, with the soldier saying he was kidnapped while lagging behind on a patrol.
In an email three days before he was allegedly kidnapped, Bergdahl told his parents that he was ashamed to be American.
“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he wrote, according to a New York Post report.
Another comrade of Bergdahl’s accused him of walking off the base.
“He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he’s a traitor or he was kidnapped,” said the soldier.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would not comment on whether Bergdahl had deserted or would be punished, according to a CNN report.
Bergdahl’s former squad leader, Greg Leatherman, said that he was pleased to see him return safely.
“From experience I hope that he receives adequate reintegration counselling,” said Leatherman.
Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity on Saturday, in exchange for five Taliban leaders who had been detained in Guantánamo Bay.