US-Afghan-SoldierCap 1stLd-Writethru 07-20 Web

Hometown kept mum on native’s Taliban capture

Almost since the news two weeks ago that a U.S. soldier had been captured in Afghanistan, a small circle of people in Hailey, a central Idaho town of 7,000, have known it was one of their own: a local family’s only son who was home-schooled here, danced at the local ballet school and rode his bike everywhere, was in the hands of the Taliban.

Out of respect for Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl’s intensely private family and fear that anything they might say could make his situation more precarious, however, neighbors have kept Bergdahl’s Hailey origins under wraps. The Pentagon wasn’t talking either; all that U.S. Department of Defense officials said in early July was that a U.S. soldier was believed in enemy captivity.

Only after Saturday’s Internet airing of a video in which Bergdahl is shown captive and says he fears never going home again did DOD officials finally release his name. Some of Bergdahl’s friends are also slowly opening up, too, with permission from his father.

In the video posted Saturday, Bergdahl confirms his name and his hometown. The Pentagon confirmed his identity Sunday — nearly three weeks after he went missing amid conflicting reports.

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