On Wednesday, The New York Times challenged a Daily Beast piece by Nathan Bradley Bethea published Monday that blames at least six soldiers’ deaths in Afghanistan on the search for then-missing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The Times reports that the eight deaths in Paktika province during the three-month search period for Bergdahl, from July to September 2009, were only three higher than the death toll from the previous year; across Afghanistan during this time, there were 122 U.S. military deaths, up 58 percent from the previous year. A senior U.S. military official also said that the soldiers who died would have been on risky missions regardless of Bergdahl’s disappearance. “Look, it’s not like these soldiers would have been sitting around their base,” he said.
On Wednesday, Michael Daly reported in The Daily Beast that the U.S. Army lied to the family of Lt. Darryn Andrews, claiming he died in combat while on the hunt for a top Taliban commander, when in fact he was searching for Bergdahl. Andrews won a posthumous Silver Star for his action that saved six men from death.
The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that an Army investigation found that the search for Bergdahl in 2009 diverted resources away from Combat Outpost Keating, which was later attacked by 300 Taliban. Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in the fighting. The Army report said resources began to be diverted in July 2009, three months before the deadly battle but early enough to hurt intelligence-gathering before the attack. “I don’t know if we can draw the direct linkage [from the Bergdahl search] to the fatalities at Keating,” said retired Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, the report’s lead investigator.