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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs