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NATO Commander: Bergdahl hasn’t been debriefed yet

June 6th, 2014
02:53 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whose release from five years in Taliban captivity has been mired in controversy, is not “actually being debriefed yet,” NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

“What we're concentrating on right now is his health. He has been in a very tough place for a long time. Landstuhl Medical Center [in Germany] is the perfect place for this. It is the best place in the world to do it. That's what we're focussed on right now."

Breedlove and Amanpour spoke in Normandy, France, where world leaders marked 70 years since the Allied D-Day invasion during World War II.

Bergdahl’s release has become a political football in the United States since it was announced last week.

Critics believe he was a deserter (an Army investigation found that he walked off his Afghan base voluntarily) and say he was not worth the five Taliban members who were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his freedom.

“The Army has given all of our forces a great culture, and that culture is no soldier left behind,” General Breedlove said. “So no soldier, no sailor, airman, nor marine we leave behind.”

“Sergeant Bergdahl is a Sergeant in the United States Army, and we're happy to have him back in American hands. I won't comment on the process, but it's good to have him back in our hands.”

As for the Taliban commanders who were exchanged for Bergdahl, General Breedlove said he hoped they would not return to the battlefield.

“That would be a bad outcome,” he said. “Any fighters that return to the battlefield is a bad thing.”

He would not wager whether they would return to the fight, and said he did not know how significant they are as commanders.

“They’ve been out of the fight for over five years, some of them for longer. So I really couldn’t make a judgement on that. I think what we hope to see is that they don’t return to the fight.”

As Supreme Allied Commander, General Breedlove has a wide mandate. The most pressing issue on his plate over the past months has undoubtedly been Ukraine, where violence and political interference have raged.
For weeks, with large numbers of Russian forces massed on Ukraine’s eastern border, it seemed an invasion could be imminent.

“The majority of the forces on the Russian side of the Ukraine border have pulled back,” General Breedlove said. “We still see a couple of units there, and we haven't seen them really preparing to leave, so we'll be watching them over the next few days.”

“But what has not changed is Russian influence inside of Ukraine – Russian irregular forces, Russian-backed forces, Russian financing – all very, very active inside eastern Ukraine.”

The Russian interference, he said, “has to stop.”

Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko spoke briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday during D-Day ceremonies.

“This is a government that has just been elected. It’s a country really trying to figure out how to grasp what is going on in the eastern region, and these forces are very organized. And they’re very well-financed. And that’s tough for this government to take on.”

Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with General Breedlove, and hear their discussion about Afghanistan.

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (24 Responses)
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