So how did Bowe Bergdahl while away the five years he spent as a Taliban hostage in Afghanistan? Playing soccer with his captors and reading about Islam seem to be two pastimes, a Taliban spokesman tells the AP. "You can ask him in America about his life (in captivity)," says Zabihullah Mujahid. "He will not complain." Bergdahl was held under "good conditions" and got fresh fruit and other foods he wanted upon request, says Mujahid, whose statements could not be confirmed. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, talks to several troops who served with Bergdahl, and they generally paint a portrait of a soldier who arrived gung-ho for war but quickly grew disillusioned.
"It seemed like he was this die-hard, Rambo-esque soldier who wanted to kick a-- and take names who then became this Peace Corps kind of guy who wanted to help the people," says one, Zach Barrow. The shift seemed to happen after Bergdahl's first firefight. The Journal also reports that Bergdahl used to frequently visit Afghan police officers stationed at the US outpost, and those officers disappeared the same day the American did. That has Bergdahl's former squad leader wondering whether the American, who had talked about a desire to live among Afghan villagers, got double-crossed. "Maybe you follow a plan with some guys you know and trust," says Josh Korder, "and they end up turning you in to some criminals."