DUSTWUN - Part 1
Bowe Berghal was taken captive by the Taliban in June 2009. What follows is a four-part series written by a Special Operations asset that was on the ground at the time.
Bergahl was a traitor. The media circus around his release a typical liberal propaganda campaign to elevate anti-American sentiment and disparage the military. The author of the article will remain anonymous for reasons of security, but his claims have been verified. We encourage you to read the full series from an American operative point of view.
DUSTWUN - Part 1
It was June 2009. I was working off the grid in and around South-Eastern Afghanistan. I had built a very effective Afghan network: local elders, merchants, NDS commanders (Afghan CIA), Afghan Army CI (Afghan FBI), etc. Word came down that a soldier from the 501st INF had gone AWOL. The name of the soldier was quickly known: Bowe Bergdahl.
Within hours of the reported “DUSTWUN” (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown) the RC-East Commander initiated a total gag order, preventing any Army unit or Embedded Training Team (ETT) / Police Mentor Team (PMT) team from sharing intelligence with the Afghans. His order was based on his command’s stated belief that the Afghans were complicit in the taking of Bergdahl. The actual motivations came out later in private meetings behind closed doors: he wanted to protect his chances for promotion to O-7 (One Star General).
The Commander’s order didn’t affect me, and I frankly had little care for being involved in the search for someone as obviously stupid as this kid. My feelings, bluntly, were that Darwin’s laws should be let to play out and the Taliban’s desires to turn young boys into sex puppets was this kids earned destiny.
Almost immediately the rumor mill was in full swing. I returned to my Area of Operations (AO) and stayed to my own business. Nothing was flying or moving unless it was part of the search. So I took some days to read, catch up on emails and listen to the chatter in the mess hall as I sucked down my cups of bad coffee and powdered creamer. Mid-way through the second week I ran into one of the PMT mentors. He was furious about having to deal with the gag order; rightfully describing how the lack of sharing was undermining his teams relationship and trust with the Afghan Police units they were mentoring. His frustration got to me; it pissed me off to be more to the point. I knew this kid Bergdahl could be found. Not through the might of every US military asset in Eastern Afghanistan, but through tribal connections and traditional ways of doing business in Afghanistan… something Regular Army commanders never understood. I left the encounter with the PMT mentor, returned to my AO and walked into my Colonel’s office.
“I will make you a bet I can locate this kid in a week.” He looked at me and said nothing. He knew how I worked and I walked out.
I began by walking into the office of an Afghan Intelligence Officer I knew. He greeted me as always; welcomed me in and offered me Chai. We had not seen each other for well over a month. We shared stories, we discussed insurgent tactics, new TTPs, his family, my travels. Then I asked him the question I had come for, “Colonel… where’s our boy?” He looked at me and just stared back. Then he said, “You don’t want to know.”
I was taken aback and frankly irritated. I had had enough of the games over this kid’s search. “What do you mean I don’t want to know! We are friends; we have been friends a long time. You're answer is not good enough.” The Colonel then went on to explain to me how he had offered his support to find Bergdahl. However, the American Army mentors told him they weren’t interested; that they had everything under control.
I reminded him I wasn’t them and that I could frankly give a shit what his Army mentors were or were not interested in. “Help me find him. You and I both know this cannot be done without Afghan intelligence. You and I know that regardless of how stupid this kid is, he needs to be brought home.”
... Part 2 of 4 coming Monday, 11 June 2018.
Check out Bards of War: Fighting is Everything coming Fall 2018