News / USA

Afghan Taliban Releases Video Showing US Soldier Handover

Taliban Video of Release of US Soldier Sgt. Bergdahli
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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs