Can Bowe Bergdahl really be tied to six soldiers' deaths?

But a review of casualty reports and contemporaneous military logs from the Afghanistan war shows that the facts surrounding the eight deaths are far murkier than definitive — even as critics of Sergeant Bergdahl contend that every American combat death in Paktika Province in the months after he disappeared, from July to September 2009, was his fault…

“You see a lot of anger because we lost guys not only at Zerok, but a decent amount of good guys looking” for him, said a soldier from his unit who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Where those events are identifiable in the logs, they do not mention any link to Bergdahl search operations, although the logs are terse and contain few contextual details.

Mr. Bethea wrote that of the six men killed in August and September, two died in a roadside bombing while on a reconnaissance mission, a third was shot during a search for a Taliban political leader and three others were killed while conducting patrols — two in an ambush and one who stepped on a mine…

Still, those villages and insurgents were in the overall area of responsibility for the soldiers, and the logs make clear that the region was an insurgent hotbed. A log on May 21, 2009, for example, said it had historically been a “safe haven” for the Taliban.