(ONLINE.WSJ) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has declined to speak to his family after five years in harsh captivity that included being held in a cage after one attempted escape, according to a U.S. official familiar with the Army soldier’s recovery.

Doctors treating Sgt. Bergdahl at a U.S. military hospital in Germany are moving slowly because of the swirling controversy over the soldier’s release, the U.S. official said.

While he spent five years in captivity after being captured by Afghan insurgents in 2009, Sgt. Bergdahl doesn’t yet want to talk to his family on the phone, the official said. Details of Sgt. Bergdahl’s captivity were earlier reported by the New York Times.

Sgt. Bergdahl has likely been shielded from most of the backlash his release has generated in the U.S. Some former platoon soldiers have accused him of deserting his post, and lawmakers from both parties have questioned the decision to trade America’s lone prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five Taliban officials held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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