2014-06-04T151902Z_1_LYNXMPEA530M8_RTROPTP_2_BELGIUM-NATO

Critics should wait for facts before condemning Bergdahl, Hagel says

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the end of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in BrusselsCritics should wait for the facts before rushing to judge released Taliban detainee Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday. Bergdahl, held for nearly five years in Afghanistan, was freed last week in a controversial prisoner-swap deal with the Taliban brokered by the Qatari government. Some former comrades have accused Bergdahl, who was captured in unknown circumstances on June 30, 2009, of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers. “I do not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. solders dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sergeant Bergdahl,” Hagel told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

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