Bowe Bergdahl was apparently “high” on cannabis when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2009, a former CIA operative has revealed.
The US Army soldier, 28, left his remote outpost in Paktika province in June 2009 and was held the Taliban for five years.
Duane Clarridge, who ran a network of informants on the ground in Afghanistan, has spoken publicly for the first time about the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture.
Mr Clarridge said the Idaho native was captured along with a small group of Afghan soldiers and sold to the Haqqani terrorist network, who are allied with the Taliban.
He told Fox News: “The call came in and what it said was they had just broken out the message than an American soldier along with two or three Afghan soldiers had been captured or taken by a group of nomads.
“The patrols were moving around aggressively and were shouting ‘Bowe Bowe’, and the guys down-range wanted to know, what was Bowe?
“It was at that point, we were told that the soldier was Bowe Bergdahl.”
He added that the call said the group were “using the Pashto ‘diwana’, which in this case meant high on hashish.”
Just days later, Bergdahl was apparently sold to the Haqqani terrorist network and had been moved into Pakistan.
Mr Clarridge added: “I can’t say precisely, but I think it was certainly within four days and maybe less.”
That belief was not shared by other US intelligence agencies and the search for Bergdahl continued village to village in Afghanistan. The deaths of six US soldiers at that time have been linked to the search for the missing soldier.
Bergdahl was freed on 31 May last year in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
In March he was charged with desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. He could face a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted.
Earlier this year, he revealed he had been tortured during his captivity in a letter aimed at sparing him a court martial.
In it he said he was threatened with execution after trying to escape around a dozen times, beaten with a rubber hose and struck with an AK-47.
His military hearing in Texas for alleged desertion has been delayed until September.
(c) Sky News 2015