Mixed Reactions to Bergdahl's Release from Taliban

Created: 06/02/2014 5:50 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- An American soldier who was held captive for five years by the Taliban, is safe today. His life has been essentially traded by President Obama for the release of five Taliban detainees. Some local veterans aren't universally celebrating this soldier's homecoming.

"I'm begging you, bring me home," Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl said in a recording roughly three years into captivity. About two years later, he's now recovering at a hospital in Germany, just days from returning home.

"You are free, freedom is yours. I will see you soon my beloved son. I love you Bowe," said Sgt. Bergdahl's mother, Jani.

"I'm glad for his family but I’m saddened about what it is he did. I mean, he walked off, and in the process in looking for him, a lot of other young men died," said local Vietnam Veteran, Tery Throndson. He's among those upset with reports that Sgt. Bergdahl walked away from his remote base before being captured 5 years ago. "I hope it's not a hero's welcome because the men and women who have fought and put their life on the line and stood through it all are our heroes, not the ones who walk off," said Throndson.

Others are even more outraged with the deal that was made to secure his freedom. "The number one way that Al Qaeda raises money is ransom, kidnapping and ransom. We have now set a price," said Republican Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers.

Five so called "high ranking" Taliban were let go with the release of Sgt. Bergdahl. "These five Taliban are the worst of the worst and they are out there and more Americans will die because of it," said Throndson.

"We needed to get him (Bergdahl) out of there, essentially to save his life," said Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense.

Those we spoke with agree he should come home, but not at that price. "This is sad. This should have never happened in my view. There are other ways to retrieve him, to get him back," said Throndson.

Still, the Bergdahl's and the Obama Administration are celebrating the outcome. "I want you to know that I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm so proud of your character," said Sgt. Bergdahl’s father, Bob.

Sgt. Bergdahl could be reunited with his family in Idaho as soon as Wednesday. He’ being debriefed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Photo: ABC 6 News