Taliban release video of U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban released a video Friday showing a U.S. soldier who was captured more than five months ago in eastern Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban released a video Friday showing a U.S. soldier who was captured more than five months ago in eastern Afghanistan.

Pte. 1st Class Bowe Bergdahl is the only known American serviceman in captivity. The U.S. airborne infantryman was taken by the Afghan Taliban in Paktika province on June 30.

“This is a horrible act which exploits a young soldier, who was clearly compelled to read a prepared statement,” said a statement from U.S. navy Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, spokesman for the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan that confirmed the man in the video is Bergdahl. “To release this video on Christmas Day is an affront to the deeply concerned family and friends of Bowe Bergdahl, demonstrating contempt for religious traditions and the teachings of Islam.”

Bergdahl is shown seated, facing the camera, wearing sunglasses and what appears to be a U.S. military helmet and uniform. On one side of the image, it says: “An American soldier imprisoned by the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

The man identifies himself as Bergdahl, born in Sun Valley, Idaho, and gives his rank, birth date, blood type, his unit and mother’s maiden name before beginning a lengthy verbal attack on the U.S. conduct of the war in Afghanistan and its relations with Muslims. He seems healthy and doesn’t appear to have been abused.

The video, which has an English-language narration in parts, also shows images of prisoners in U.S. custody being abused. The speaker says he did not suffer such ill treatment.

A statement read by a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, appears at the end of the video and renews demands for a “limited number of prisoners” to be exchanged for Bergdahl. The statement says that more American troops could be captured.

The Geneva Conventions, which regulate the conduct of war between regular armies, bar the use of detainees for propaganda purposes and prohibit signatories from putting captured military personnel on display. As an insurgent organization, the Taliban are not party to the treaty.

Statements from captives are typically viewed as being made under duress. The insurgents also released a video of Bergdahl a few weeks after he was captured. In the July 19 video, Bergdahl appeared downcast and frightened.

Bergdahl, who was serving with a unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, was 23 when he vanished just five months after arriving in Afghanistan. He was serving at a base in Paktika province near the border with Pakistan in an area known to be a Taliban stronghold. On Friday, NATO said a joint Afghan-international force killed several militants in Paktika while searching for a commander of the Jalaluddin Haqqani militant network that is linked to al-Qaida.

U.S. military officials have searched for Bergdahl, but it is not publicly known whether he is even being held in Afghanistan or neighbouring Pakistan.

Lt.-Col. Tim Marsano, an Idaho National Guard spokesman who has been serving as a liaison between the family and media, said Thursday that the family had not seen the video since word of its possible release surfaced earlier this month. He spoke with Bob and Jani Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, earlier this week and described their mood as “anxiously awaiting” any new information about their son.

“They’re very hopeful that the message will be a positive one, as far as their son’s health and welfare,” Marsano said.

Marsano said the family still wasn’t speaking publicly about Bergdahl’s capture.

The man on the video said U.S. officials keep leading America “into the same holes,” citing Vietnam, Japan, Germany, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq.

“This is just going to be the next Vietnam unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hospital parking fees suspended during COVID-19 pandemic

The provincial government is directing Alberta Health Services to temporarily suspend parking… Continue reading

Taxpayers group questions cost of proposed Leslieville fire hall

Clearwater County Taxpayers Association says possible $5.1-million price tag too high

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer peace officers can fine those not following virus prevention protocols

A provincial investigator will first have to follow up on public complaints

Red Deer College postpones June convocation

Convocation cancelled to comply with Alberta Health COVID-19 directives

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake plumbers ask for social distancing while working in homes

Fonda’s Plumbing and Heating says they went out to six service calls in one day during the outbreak

Lacombe Rams football adapting to COVID-19 changes

Spring camp likely cancelled; players working on games from home

Town of Sylvan Lake temporally lays off 64 employees during COVID-19 pandemic

The Town has enacted a temporary 60-day layoff process for 64 employees

Trump says he expects Russia, Saudis to cut oil production

Energy prices haven’t been this low since 2002

Town of Blackfalds announces layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Over 25 staff are being laid off or their contract terminated early

Doctor appreciated show of support for health-care workers

I just wanted to say thanks to the emergency services of Red… Continue reading

Most Read