In June of 2009, 23-year-old Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post at Mest Manko in Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by the Taliban. He was held as a prisoner of war for five years in deplorable conditions. In 2014, President Barack Obama’s administration arrived at an agreement with the Taliban. In exchange for Bergdahl’s release, the United States would release five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay. The deal was controversial. Many people felt that the U.S should not have negotiated with terrorists for release of a soldier that deserted his post.
Bergdahl’s case was a hot topic on the campaign trail during the 2016 presidential election. Now-President Donald Trump commented on it frequently, referring to Bergdahl as a traitor and suggesting that if he could undo the deal, sending Bergdahl back into captivity and returning the detainees to Guantanamo, he would do so.