Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter who tried to join the Taliban only to be taken captive by them, has been sitting down for a series of interviews with filmmaker Mark Boal and that are available via podcast. In these interviews, Bergdahl describes escape attempts, the Taliban’s weakness for sweets, and their curiosity about whether or not Obama is gay.
Bergdahl said he saw his first chance at escape soon after his abduction in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, when a water delivery temporarily distracted his captors. He managed to slip off the chains binding his hands and feet and unlatched the flimsy wire holding the door to his cell closed.
He was free for only 15 minutes, running barefoot over rocks and climbing onto a roof and covering himself in mud to hide, he said in audio used by the podcast. He was caught in moments and hauled back into his cell, where men beat him with a rubber hose. They then blindfolded him and moved him to a new home, in what he now believes was North Waziristan in Pakistan, he said.
In a later attempt to escape, Bergdahl was longer than fifteen minutes; he managed to evade capture for seven days.
The Post continues:
Eventually, Bergdahl was moved to what he described as a wooden fortress and placed in a cell with an open window. By that time he had managed to squirrel away a few objects — an 8-inch piece of PVC pipe, a random key, an empty soda bottle, a nail and a wooden slat — from which he was able to hatch his next escape plan.
“I practiced all the nights before, counting the hours down until everything was silent so I knew everyone was asleep,” he said.
He shimmied from his window down a rope made from bedding and the chains he’d removed from his hands and feet. When he hit the ground, it was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, even though he knew the road to safety would be perilous.
. . . . The darkness would be his downfall.
A few hours into his journey, he accidentally stepped off a cliff in the dark and badly injured his left side. Unable to walk, Bergdahl crawled across the rural, hilly landscape and tried to stay hidden in shelters made of sticks for the next week. To survive, he ate a few blades of grass and drank filthy water.
. . . . The Taliban search team found him on day eight, so frail and sick that they only ripped out some of his hair and beard — as opposed to beating him — as punishment.
Bergdahl also relates that his captors were often bored and asked strings of questions.
The Post continues:
Although watching over Bergdahl was a high honor, the guards were often bored and would pass the time by making videos of him, interrogating him with ridiculous questions or shaving his beard into shapes they found amusing, he said.
“They ask you, is Obama gay and sleeps with men?” he recalled. His young guards were also curious about where US military bases got their prostitutes, alcohol and drugs, and were obsessed with American soft drinks, he added.
“They love Mountain Dew. If you want to piss people off in that country, all you do is cut off their sugar supply,” he said.
Bergdahl is facing a court martial for desertion and for endangering fellow soldiers and a possible life sentence for misbehavior before the enemy.DONATE
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