Released Prisoner Of War’s Girlfriend Faces Dilemma Because She Has A New Boyfriend

Monica Lee was just 19 when Bowe Bergdahl left his US camp in Afghanistan and was kidnapped by the Taliban...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

In a grim case of life imitating art (if you could call the prolonged paranoia-tears-and-jazz of Homeland 'art'), an American woman has a lot to deal with as the soldier boyfriend she thought was long gone has been released by the Taliban forces holding him hostage.

Monica Lee was 19 when her then boyfriend, GI Bowe Bergdahl, went to Afghanistan. They spoke every day via Skype but, after one month, he wandered away from the camp and was captured by the Taliban.

After three years of Bowe's captivity, Monica – who'd previously been given his blessing should this situation occur – started a relationship with Justin Forsdick. Two years later, Monica received a call from her mum, Alison, who told her that Bowe was finally being released. Her initial response? 'What do I do now?'

Bowe, 28, should be understanding of her new life, though – after his capture, he could only communicate with Monica through the videos his captors filmed of him but, according to Monica’s mum Alison, Bowe told Monica at some point she shouldn't wait for him to come back. ‘It was very trying for her. She was 19 going on 20 at the time. It was a lot more than most people have to deal with,’ she's said. ‘She has always been very supportive of Bowe, and very anxious about him. But he said he wanted her to go on with her life, and not feel like she had to wait. No one knew how long he’d be held for.’

Bowe’s release was negotiated as the US government agreed to swap him for five people being held in Guantanamo Bay – something very rarely done in US politics. Bowe’s ‘re-integration' is going to happen ‘at a pace he finds comfortable’, according to the US military. He's currently having his health checked out at Lindstahl in Germany, which is home to the biggest US base outside of the country. Though he's said to be healthy, he spent most of his time in captivity and now has difficulties speaking in any language other than Pashtu after not hearing English for so long.

Yeesh. On top of all of this, Bowe is facing online hate – people are accusing him of being a deserter for wandering away from his camp way back in 2009. Where is Claire Danes when you need her?

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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