FORT SAM HOUSTON - The Army sergeant held for five years in Taliban captivity begins a new leg of his enthralling journey Wednesday when the Army begins to formally question him about his time with the terrorist organization and how he ended up in its custody after disappearing in Afghanistan in 2009.
"Five years in the hands of people who are basically our worst enemy, our worst nightmare, is unimaginable," said Eugene Fidell, the attorney representing Bowe Bergdahl and helping him prepare for the Army's questioning.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl will lead the questioning, which begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Fort Sam.
Dahl will hand over his findings to Army Staff, the office led by the Army chief of staff.
"And after that the Army Staff will have to make some hard decisions about what ought to be done," Fidell said.
Back on active duty after arriving at Brooke Army Medical Center mid-June, Bergdahl is doing administrative work in Headquarters Company at Fort Sam.
He is neither under restrictions nor facing charges.
"He is a free man and has liberty as all GI's are entitled to," Fidell said. "He's just a regular soldier."
Fidell would not say whether Bergdahl is undergoing any treatment at BAMC or whether he has been in contact with his family, saying that information is private.
Fidell describes the former Taliban captive as "very intelligent, quite verbal, thoughtful, intellectual and an interesting human being."
Bergdahl's release was made in exchange for five Taliban members being held at Guantanamo Bay.
The trade sparked outcries from critics as well as fellow soldiers who claim Bergdahl was a deserter.
"He is a person of very strong character and I think he's got the inner fortitude to be able to integrate that kind of information," said Fidell, responding to questions about how Bergdahl has handled the speculation surrounding his captivity.
Meanwhile, Fidell says he has received overwhelming messages of support for Bergdahl, which he passes on to his client.
"People who take the time, make the effort, send really heartwarming notes … that's been extremely rewarding and important to him because his lot in life could be a pretty lonely one right now," said Fidell. "It's an epic tale. You'd have to really have a heart of stone not to be struck by that and engaged by that."
Fidell, a professor at Yale University, says Bergdahl is "eager to put this chapter of his life behind him," and hopes to enter civilian life and to attend college.
Bergdahl is expected to stay at Fort Sam Houston as long as the Army's investigation is ongoing.
Fidell says he has no indication how long the Army's formal questioning process might last.
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