|Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl went missing in June 2009 and was the Taliban's only US prisoner of war|
A welcoming party in the home town of a Bowe Bergdahl who was just freed from Afghan's captivity has been cancelled, amid suspicions that he deserted his post. Organisers said the event in Hailey, Idaho, was cancelled for safety reasons, because of a large increase in the number of expected attendants. Bowe Bergdahl was released on Saturday after five years in Taliban captivity. Several commentators and soldiers have branded him a deserter and called for him to be punished.
The circumstances of Sgt Bergdahl's capture in 2009 remain unclear, although the Pentagon has concluded he left his post in Paktika Province without authorisation.
The town's annual "Bring Bowe Back" rally, calling for Sgt Bergdahl's release, was already scheduled for 28 June, but was changed to a homecoming party after he was freed on Saturday.
But in a statement on Wednesday, the town authorities said organisers expected a dramatic increase in attendance because of national media attention.
"In the interest of public safety, the event will be cancelled", the statement said.
Authorities in the small town of 8,000 people said they had been inundated with messages of protest and complaint.
Police Chief Jeff Gunter told Reuters he received a phone call from a fellow police chief in Tennessee asking him: "'What the hell's your problem for supporting this deserter?'"
|Residents of Hailey Idaho celebrated the news of Bowe's release|
Joel Robinson, a volunteer chaplain with an organisation that supported the Bergdahl family told the BBC he was disappointed the event was cancelled, but "I can understand with the high level of uncertainty".
Mr Robinson said he had "no preconceived notion of guilt or innocence" about Sgt Bergdahl.
"I will wait for the judicial process to take its course. I wish other people would, too."
|Bowe's Parents and Robert Bergdahl were due to speak at the home coming|
Gleaned from BBC