- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Army is extending its probe into a soldier who went missing from an Afghanistan combat outpost in June 2009 and was captured by Islamic militants.

On Tuesday, the Army announced that it would extend its investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who sits at the center of the Obama administration’s controversial prisoner swap that freed five Taliban prisoners.

Army spokesman Wayne Hall said in a statement that Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl was still in the process of completing his investigatory report into the days surrounding June 30, 2009, which is when Sgt. Bergdahl failed to show up for morning roll call at Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

“As the investigating officer works through this final stage, it is possible that he will have to follow up on issues that may require additional witness interviews,” Mr. Hall said. “Army senior leaders have been advised of the status of the investigation, and Maj. Gen. Dahl expects to submit his report for review in September, 2014.”

Army officials began their investigation into Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance on June 16. The investigation was limited to a 60-day window, which ended Aug. 15.

Mr. Hall said there was no longer a deadline attached to the investigation because Gen. Dahl “may need more time.”

“We’re not trying to pigeonhole him,” he said.

Once Gen. Dahl completes the investigation, he is expected to recommend that Sgt. Bergdahl receive either an administrative punishment, an exoneration or, possibly, face a court martial.

Some of the soldiers who were deployed in Afghanistan along with Sgt. Bergdahl have accused him of deliberately deserting his post prior to being captured by an Islamic militant group. That group eventually returned the soldier back to the United States in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.

Sgt. Bergdahl is currently performing administrative duties at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Earlier this month, Gen. Dahl traveled to Fort Sam Houston to interview Sgt. Bergdahl.

Eugene Fidell, the attorney who is representing Sgt. Bergdahl, helped the soldier prepare for the interview.