Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said in his first interview since being released by the Taliban in 2014 that he finds it “insulting” that he is being called a traitor.
The interview, filmed by British filmmaker Sean Langan last year, aired on television for the first time on Monday on ABC News.
Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy on Monday before a military judge at Fort Bragg.
Bergdahl said he pleaded guilty because he thought he wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial after President Donald Trump called him a “traitor.”
“We’re tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who’s a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed,” Trump said in October 2015. “Thirty years ago he would have been shot.”
“We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said in the interview.”The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.”
Bergdahl abandoned his Afghanistan outpost in June 2009 and was immediately captured by the Taliban. He was held captive by the Haqqani network for five years until he was released in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay.
Bergdahl fought back against the narrative that he deserted his company to join the Taliban.
“You know, it’s just insulting, frankly,” Bergdahl said. “It’s very insulting, the idea that they would think I did that.”
Bergdahl said in a taped conversation with filmmaker Mark Boal that he left his post to try to report to senior officers that his platoon commander was “unfit” for his position, ABC News reported.
Bergdahl detailed what his life was like during his five years in captivity, including spending roughly four years in a seven foot long and six foot wide cage.
“It was getting so bad that I was literally looking at myself, you know, looking at joints, looking my ribs and just going, ‘I’m gonna die here from sickness, or I can die escaping,'” Bergdahl said. “You know, it didn’t really matter.”