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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid