Days after the disappearance of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. soldiers intercepted radio communications revealing that an American soldier in a nearby village was looking for someone to help him communicate in English with unknown agents, according to the 28-year-old Idahoan's former team leader.
"I heard it straight from the interpreter's lips as he heard it over the radio," former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, who served in Bergdahl's unit, said Tuesday in a CNN interview. "There's a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away."
And official military documents from 2009, which were obtained and released by WikiLeaks, would appear to corroborate Buetow's story.
“[A]n American Soldier with a camera is looking for someone who speaks English,” the documents read.
Later, in the same document dump, U.S. armed forces reported intercepting the following radio conversation between Taliban operatives:
1- [We] ARE READY FOR THEM.
2- ALL THE NUMBERS ARE MESS IT. WE ARE WWAITING FOR THEM.
1- LOL THEY KNOW WHERE HE IS BUT THEY KEEP GOING TO WRONG AREA.
2- OK SET UP THE WORK FOR THEM.
1- YES WE HAVE A LOT OF IED ON THE ROAD.
2- GOD WILLING WE WILL DO IT.
1- WE WERE ATTACKING THE POST HE WAS SITTING TAKING EXPLETIVE HE HAD NO GUN WITH HIM. HE WAS TAKING EXPLETIVE, HE HAS NOT CLEANED HIS BUTT YET.
2- WHAT SHEAM FOR THEM.
1- I DONT THINK HE W 2-YES LOOK THEY HAVE ALL AMERICANS, ANA HELICOPTERS THE PLANES ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
1- I THINK HE IS BIG SHOT THAT WHY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
3-CAN YOU GUYS MAKE A VIDEO OF HIM AND ANNOUNCE IT ALL OVER AFGHANISTAN THAT WE HAVE ONE OF THE AMERICANS.
1- WE ALREADY HAVE A VIDEO OF HIM.
U.S. officials later confirmed that an American soldier had indeed been captured by Taliban forces.
The military communication then reveal the following information:
THE ELDERS WERE ASKED BY THE TALIBAN TO A TRADE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND TALIBAN. THE TALIBAN TREMS ARE 15 OF THEIR TALIBAN BROTHERS IN U.S. JAIL AND SOME MONEY IN EXCHANGE FOR PVT BERGDAHL. THE ELDERS ASSURED ME THAT PVT BERGDAHL IS ALIVE AND THAT HE IN NOT BEING HARMED.
THE ELDERS ARE GOING TO TO HAVE ANOTHER MEETING WITH THEMSELVES TO DISCUSS HELPING US THIS AFTERNOON. THEY REQUESTED TO HAVE ANOTHER MEETING WITH ME THE SAME TIME TOMORROW. THE MEST ANP COMMANDER IS ALSO WILLING TO HELP IN EVERY WAY HE CAN; EVEN TO THE EXTENT OF REQUESTING ASSESTS/MONEY FROM DAWLAT KHAN TO AID THE MEST ELDERS TO HAVE RESOURCES (CAR, FUEL, ARM TO DEFEND THEMSELVES) FACILITATING MEETING WITH THE TALIBAN. THE ELDERS ALSO ASSURE THAT THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO TAKE POSSESSION OF PVT BERGDAHL. THEY SAID THAT THEY WILL APPEAL TO THE TALIBAN BY SAYING THAT THEY ARE WHITE BEARDED MEN AS ELDERS. DURING OUR MEETING, THEY WANTED FOR ME TO TALK TO PVT BERGDAHL VIA ICOM TO ENSURE THAT HE IS DOING OKAY. TRIED TO GET COMMS WITH NO LUCK.
From there, the documents reveal that efforts by U.S. officials to retrieve Bergdahl proved fruitless.
You can read the military communications here:
"As an Army, we are grateful that an American soldier is back in American hands. The warrior ethos is more than words, and we should never leave a comrade behind,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in a statement. "Our first priority is ensuring Sgt. Bergdahl's health and beginning his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this, and we will take as long as medically necessary to aid his recovery."
McHugh continued, adding that the Army will review the case “in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity.
"All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices,” he added.
At least six U.S. soldiers were killed by Taliban fighters during the weeks-long search for Bergdahl, according to members of the former captive's unit.
Bergdahl's "not a hero," Buetow added in his CNN interview. "He needs to answer for what he did."
CORRECTION: Bowe Bergdahl's home state was incorrect in the original version of this story. The Washington Examiner regrets the error.