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Monday, Jul 28th

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Bergdahl may have walked off base more than once

BergdahlAn internal military investigation found that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl intentionally sneaked away from his forward operating base in Afghanistan just before he disappeared in 2009 — and that may not have been the first time he left the post without permission, according to officials familiar with the probe.

“We have no indication that he intended to leave permanently,” one government official familiar with the investigation told Military Times. However, the official noted, the investigation did not have potentially critical input from Sgt. Bergdahl himself.

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General In Charge When Bergdahl Was Captured: 'We Don't Leave Americans Behind'

Gen stan McChrystalThe top American general who was in command of forces in Afghanistan at the time Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured says we shouldn't judge the soldier just yet, telling Yahoo News unequivocally that we do not leave Americans behind.

“We did a huge number of operations to try to stop the Taliban from being able to move him across the border into Pakistan,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a Yahoo News interview. “And we made a great effort and put a lot of people at risk in doing that, but that’s what you should do. That’s what soldiers do for each other.”

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Taliban posts propaganda video of Bergdahl's release to U.S. special forces

bergdahlThe Taliban has released a video showing the handoff of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. Special Operations Forces with the farewell message, "Don't come back to Afghanistan."

The video, originally posted on the Taliban's website, shows Bergdahl sitting in a white pickup truck in an open field, located in the remote Khost province. He looks confused and is blinking a lot as he gets out of the truck wearing white Afghan clothing. In the video, he looks thin, bald, and does not have eyebrows.

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New research links Iraq dust to ill soldiers

Iraq dustTitanium and other metals found in dust at a base in Iraq have been linked to the dust found in six sick soldiers' lungs, according to a study set to be released Monday.

"We biopsied several patients and found titanium in every single one of them," said Anthony Szema, an assistant professor at Stony Brook School of Medicine who specializes in pulmonology and allergies. "It matched dust that we have collected from Camp Victory" in Iraq.

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Bowe Berdahl, Idaho soldier, held by Taliban since '09, freed in prisoner exchange

Idaho GI freedThe United States on Saturday turned over custody of five former members of the Taliban who were being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Qatar in exchange for the release of a U.S. Army soldier who’d been held in Afghanistan by the Taliban for the past five years.

A Defense Department official, who declined to be further identified, identified the five prisoners as Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq.

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Embattled VA chief Shinseki resigns

Shinseki resignsPresident Obama said Friday he has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in the wake of major problems within the health care system for veterans.

Obama — who made the announcement minutes after meeting with Shinseki — said he regretted accepting the resignation, but "the VA needs new leadership" and he agreed with the secretary's own assessment that he has become too much of a distraction.

"We don't have time for distractions," Obama said. "We need to fix the problem."

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Drill Sergeant Accused of Assaulting 12 Military Women

Angel sanchezStaff Sergeant Angel Sanchez appeared at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri on Wednesday after being charged with sexually assaulting four women and assaulting eight others since 2011. The allegations are horrifying — in one instance, military prosecutors say he "grabbed a female soldier by her hair and forced her to perform oral sex in a women's bathroom in the barracks at Fort Leonard Wood."

In addition to sexual assault allegations, prosectors also say he attempted "to spy on one female soldier while she was showering in Afghanistan, and watched "another naked female service member while she weighed herself in a closet" while he was on deployment in Afghanistan in 2012. Of course, Sanchez's attorney contests the reliability of Sanchez's accusers. He told Dan Lamothe at The Washington Post, "In my opinion, there are a lot of issues with the credibility of the witnesses and the government’s case against my client."

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