The U.S. Army delayed until next year a court-martial of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is charged with deserting his unit in Afghanistan, leading to his capture by the Taliban for five years.
The U.S. Army announced a February 6, 2017, start date for his trial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The trial was originally scheduled to start in August, but a military judge delayed proceedings to allow legal teams more time to prepare.
Bergdahl, 30, disappeared from Combat Outpost Mest-Malak in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, on June 20, 2009.
After departing, the soldier was quickly captured by militants from the feared Haqqani faction of the Taliban.
Bergdahl's disappearance triggered a massive search operation.
He was eventually released in 2014 in a controversial prisoner swap for five Taliban prisoners being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.
If convicted of desertion, Bergdahl could serve up to five years in prison, receive a dishonorable discharge, lose his rank, and forfeit all pay.
But he also faces a second more serious charge -- "misbehavior before the enemy" -- that could carry a life sentence.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP