Response to Episode 3 of Serial 2

The two maps, Afghanistan, a Sense of Place and The Taliban’s Version of Events, are very helpful in trying to understand the situation and the special relationships associated with Bergdahl’s escapes. In the first couple of episodes, it seemed as though Bergdahl had a great distance to go in such short time. Now, according to these maps, places Bergdahl was taken seem relatively close to one another. It seems like it would be easy for Bergdahl to get away, but, in reality, it would probably be much more difficult than what it looks like on paper.

The regions are, obviously, close to one another. Bergdahl was only in one region of Afghanistan during his capture. He was taken to Pakistan as well, which would make it difficult for him to be rescued; it was territory thee U.S. could not enter. While he was in Afghanistan, he was in one region known as Regional Command East. Of that region, he was in a large portion of the southern region known as Paktika. He was mostly in the northwestern side of the region. He was taken through multiple places in the part of the region that were all extremely close to one another.  The only other couple times where he wasn’t in that region, he was taken directly across to Pakistan—yet he was only taken places close to the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan; he was never taken far into Pakistan.

The DUSTWAN called for all military forces to stop what they were doing and look for Bergdahl. In Episode Two of Serial, it was said that even soldiers looking for Bin Laden had to stop looking for him in order to look for Bergdahl. What I don’t understand is why it took so many men and women to find a man who was in such close proximity to OP Mest. In the scheme of things, OP Mest and FOB Sharana are relatively close together. It doesn’t make sense that they couldn’t find him. There must have been hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of platoons in the Middle East that were looking for Bergdahl, and the whole time he was right around the corner. Granted, there were villages and some difficult terrain, but it just doesn’t make sense to me why they couldn’t find him. The Taliban kept him moving, but he was in the same position, tied down for months. Did the soldiers give up? Did they think that he wasn’t worth it if he was the one who left his post and put everyone else in danger? Surely not. Surely they were following orders. . . unless the orders weren’t strictly being enforced. After all, the officials were getting irritated with Bergdahl and the search too—they were putting their men in danger for a soldier who willingly left his post, and happened to get picked up by the Taliban. As they probably thought, I can’t imagine that Bergdahl didn’t factor that into his plan when he was planning to leave OP Mest. Of course, the very men ordering his platoon were the very reason he left his post in the first place, according to Bergdahl.

No matter what the plan was, it is still incredibly amazing that the Taliban had him so hidden or the military wasn’t trying hard enough to find him, even though they put all of their forces into finding him. Something doesn’t add up, because he was only in a particular region, then taken to another small part of Pakistan. He was taken directly through where his journey began, and yet no one found him. If the locals saw anything, they didn’t say anything. It just doesn’t make sense that they couldn’t find him when he was in such close proximity to OP Mest and FOB Sharana. Maybe Bergdahl was right—maybe there was an issue with the superiors putting men in danger by not giving orders or fulfilling them to the best of their ability. Maybe Bergdahl did have reason to report his superiors, whether or not leaving his post was absolutely vital for his plan is unknown for now.

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