Bowe Bergdahl's father shaves his controversial beard to mark his son's release but freed POW still refuses to speak to his parents
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- Bob Bergdahl has shaved his long unkempt beard off say his neighbors in Hailey, Idaho
- Bergdahl has been heavily criticized for his appearance since son, Bowe Bergdahl, was released last month
- Accused of looking like and being a sympathizer of the Taliban captors of his son
- Bergdahl also has received criticism after he said spoke in Pashto and Arabic at the White House
- Some commentators claimed he was 'claiming White House for Islam'
- Bergdahl and his wife Jani have received three death threats since their son's release, federal authorities confirm
Bob Bergdahl's beard became the most controversial facial hair in all of America, but now critics who accused him of looking like a member of the Taliban can rest easy - he has shaved.
Grown in order to mark the time his son was in captivity as a POW in Afghanistan, neighbors of Bergdahl in Hailey, Idaho, have said that the former UPS truck driver is now clean shaven.
This comes as it was reported that Bowe Bergdahl is still refusing to speak to his family, despite being sent a letter from his sister, as he recovers in an Army hospital in Germany.
The FBI is also investigating death threats that Bob Bergdahl and his wife Jani have received from people furious about the deal that saw their son released from Afghanistan in a prisoner exchange for five Guantanamo detainees.
Indeed, despite sharpening up his look, from the moment the father of Bowe Bergdahl took the stage with President Obama in the Rose Garden last month it was clear the Bergdahl's were no average US military family.
With his long unkempt beard, seemingly anti-Government sentiment and an apparent obsession with Afghan culture and language, Bergdahl infuriated many with his use of both Pashto and Arabic language to thank Allah in front of the President at the White House.
Even though Bergdahl says he changed his appearance to better understand the Taliban who had captured his son, his appropriation of their culture has struck some critics as too close for comfort.
The hosts of Fox and Friends and Bill O'Reilly in particular were infuriated at Bob Bergdahal and his actions.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade criticized Bowe Bergdahl's father for a controversial tweet he sent and later deleted to a Taliban spokesperson, 'I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.'
This made Kilmeade furious, 'I mean, he says he was growing his beard because his son was in captivity. Well, your son's out now. So if you really don't - no longer look like a member of the Taliban, you don't have to look like a member of the Taliban. Are you out of razors?'
The sight of Bob Bergdahl standing with the President did shock many Americans unused to his facial hair, which bore some similarities to that grown by devotees of Islam.
However, what shocked them more was his use of Pashto and Arabic.
Introduced by the president, Bob Bergdahl spoke mostly English, but his rudimentary knowledge of South Asian languages shocked.
'I'd like to say to Bowe right now, who's having trouble speaking English, bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,' he said.
'I'm your father Bowe. The people of Afghanistan, the same.
'To everyone who effected this... throughout the whole of American government and international governments around the world, thank you so much.'
The Arabic phrase bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim appears prominently in the Koran and means 'In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful'.
According to Sara Carter, senior Washington correspondent for conservative news network TheBlaze, the Taliban was thrilled to hear and see the press conference.
Others, however, said there was nothing so sinister in the former UPS delivery man's speech.
After his son was captured by the Taliban in June 2009, Mr Bergdahl said he immersed himself in the language and culture of Afghanistan chiefly so he could understand the captors, and speak to them from afar.
He said in a previous interview: 'I'm trying to learn a little Pashto so that I can speak to people... I'm trying to write or read the language.
'I probably spend four hours a day reading on the region and the history.'
Stefanie O'Neill, a Bergdahl family friend, added to CNN: 'Wouldn't you try and connect with the people that had your child?
'Bob and Jani did everything possible they could to ensure Bowe's safety. And if Bob was trying to connect with them, it was to keep his son safe, I'm sure.'
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