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Former POW Bergdahl returns to U.S. Army active duty in Texas

A file photo of Sergant Bowe Bergdahl By United States Army (http://blog.oregonlive.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A file photo of Sergant Bowe Bergdahl By United States Army (http://blog.oregonlive.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is transitioning to regular active duty status, having completed therapy and counseling following his return from captivity in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said on Monday.

Bergdahl, who was released in May after five years as a Taliban prisoner of war in Afghanistan, is being assigned to work at the Army North headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the department said in a statement.

"He will now return to regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission," it said.

Officials characterized the move as "the final phase of the reintegration process."

The Pentagon also said the Army was still investigating the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his post in Afghanistan and subsequent capture by Taliban militants.

The New York Times reported that he would meet with Major General Kenneth Dahl, who is leading the investigation.

Bergdahl has been allowed to venture off base during several weeks of treatment at an Army hospital in Texas. As he returns to active duty, he will live in barracks and will have two soldiers assigned to help him during the transition, according to the newspaper.

Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, in unclear circumstances. He was released on May 31 in a prisoner swap for five Taliban leaders held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison in Cuba.

The release initially sparked euphoria in the United States that quickly turned into a political debate over whether he had abandoned his post and whether the prisoner swap should have gone ahead.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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