News / USA

Afghan Taliban Releases Video Showing US Soldier Handover

Taliban Video of Release of US Soldier Sgt. Bergdahli
X
VOA News
June 04, 2014 11:02 AM
Footage of Taliban video released Wednesday showing the handover of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was freed Saturday as part of a prisoner exchange. The 17-minute video, made public on Wednesday, shows Bergdahl clean shaven, including his head. He is dressed in a white traditional Afghan robe. The soldier is initially seen sitting in a pick-up truck that is parked on a hillside. He blinks constantly and rubs his eyes in the bright sunlight. Several armed men stand nearby.
Footage of Taliban video released Wednesday showing handover of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was freed Saturday, May 31, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
The Afghan Taliban has released a video showing its fighters handing over captured American soldier Bowe Bergdahl to the U.S. military in an eastern province that borders Pakistan Saturday.
 
The Taliban video shows U.S. Army Sgt. Bergdahl, waiting in a white pick-up truck surrounded by heavily armed Taliban fighters. Most of them have their faces covered.
 
As a commentator narrates the events, a clean-shaven Bergdahl is seen with a close-cropped haircut, wearing a white salwar kameez, the traditional Afghan clothing. He blinks frequently as he looks at and listens to his captors.
 
As Blackhawk helicopters circle overhead, one lands nearby and the captive soldier is then led to his rescuers by two men, one taking Bergdahl by the hand as the other waves a white flag.
 
A Taliban eyewitness claiming to be part of the handover narrates the event in local Pashto language.
 
He said the helicopter landed just about 15 meters away from us. We had 18 armed men with us for our protection, he says, and the Americans were informed in advance about it.
 
After the U.S. helicopter lands, three men emerge and walk toward the group, quickly shake hands and bring Bergdahl back to the helicopter. Before the freed prisoner boards, he is quickly patted down. The entire handover takes less than a minute.
 
The purported eyewitness said the Taliban had hoped to speak more with the Americans through their translator but said they appeared tense and only asked if Bergdahl was in good health.  The eyewitness says the Taliban replied in the affirmative.
 
As the helicopter departs, a message in English appears on screen, saying “Don’ come back to Afghanistan.”
 
A spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department said authorities have no reason to doubt the video’s authenticity, but are reviewing it.
 
The video also includes scenes that purportedly show the five Taliban militants who were released from detention in Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl. The militants are shown being received by Taliban representatives in Qatar.
 
The commentator describes the five released Taliban men as heroes.  
 
The Obama administration has come under fire at home from U.S. lawmakers who say they were not properly informed of the deal to free the five Guantanamo detainees in exchange for Bergdahl. Afghan officials have also expressed worries the released men will rejoin the insurgency.
 
However, speaking to reporters in Kabul on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham rejected the criticism. He reiterated that as part of the agreement with Qatari authorities, arrangements have been made to ensure that the members of the Taliban transferred to Qatar are under supervision and do not post threat to the United States.
 
“We are glad to have Sgt. Bergdahl back in U.S. hands and there is no question in any of this that we are supporting or otherwise encouraging the Taliban through this process. This was purely about the return of our soldier. We do, however, hope that reconciliation discussions between the Afghan government and the Taliban will get underway and if this encourages that process that would be good,” said Cunningham.
 
U.S. officials believe Sgt. Bergdahl was in the custody of the Haqqani Network, one of the region’s deadliest militant groups, and was held most of the time somewhere in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency. In a previously released Afghan Taliban video, Sgt. Bergdahl was seen with a senior Haqqani commander, Mullah Sangeen, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Waziristan area late last year.

Earlier, some of Bergdahl's former comrades have accused him of abandoning his post and prompting a massive search in which American military personnel were killed.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said it was unfair to Bergdahl's family to "presume anything, " saying "we don't do that in the United States, we rely on the facts."

Hagel told reporters at a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that he "doesn't know of any circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to get Bergdahl."

U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno said Wednesday taking care of Bergdahl's health and his proper reintegration is the "first and foremost" priority.  Odierno issued a statement saying "at the appropriate time, we will conduct a thorough, transparent and complete review of the circumstances surrounding his capture."

The freed soldier was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany for an evaluation.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said a thorough, transparent and complete review of the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture wouldl be conducted at the appropriate time.

"It was always a high priority that every soldier deployed to Afghanistan would return home.  We will never leave a fallen comrade behind," he said. "Now that Sgt. Bergdahl is back and under our control, first and foremost we must ensure his health is taken care of and he is properly reintegrated."

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
June 04, 2014 8:31 AM
THINGS OBAMA DOESN'T KNOW? -- Obama and Biden should quit watching those Hollywood fantasy fairytale war movies, and LOOK at the (MIA) posters and (MIA) flags flying everywhere? --- SOMEBODY should inform Obama and Biden that the (MIA) posters and flags, are for not forgetting the (MIA) "Missing in Action" American troops -- that American troops left behind? -- (WHAT?) -- ("We" don't leave American troops behind?) ?

by: Popsiq from: Buganda
June 04, 2014 5:46 AM
So, where's the video? The written narrative is indicative of a variance between the two perspectives of thee hand-over. The computer-generated model (Jessica Lynch-style 'rescue operation) portrayed on US media didn't have any white flags.

What's up with that?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs