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US Obtains 'Proof of Life' Video of Soldier Captured in Afghanistan

US Obtains 'Proof of Life' Video of Soldier Captured in Afghanistani
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January 17, 2014
U.S. military officials say they have obtained new video of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken captive in Afghanistan more than four years ago. Officials say the video was taken recently and shows Bergdahl to be frail and in poor health. They hope it will help them learn more about where he is and who is captors are. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
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Luis Ramirez
— U.S. military officials say they have obtained new video of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken captive in Afghanistan more than four years ago.  Officials say the video was taken recently and shows Bergdahl to be frail and in poor health. They hope it will help them learn more about where he is and who is captors are. 
 
This is an earlier video released a few months after U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured more than four years ago.  

"I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be able to go home," said Bergdahl.

The new one, which officials say they have obtained from his captors, has not been released to the public.     
 
Bergdahl was 23 in 2009, when militants captured him in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province.  
 
At a ceremony honoring American Prisoners of War in September, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Bergdahl has never been forgotten.

"We protect each other.  And we vow to never leave a fellow service member behind.  That commitment extends to Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan more than four years ago.  Our hearts today are with the Bergdahl family.  Using our military, intelligence, and diplomatic tools, the United States is continuing its strong efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl’s safe release," said Hagel.
 
The video gives U.S. officials something more to work with in their efforts to bring Bergdahl home.  For one, it is possible evidence that Bergdahl is alive.  Intelligence analysts are combing through every shred of the video hoping to learn more about his captors, their identity, and location.   
 
Past reports have indicated Bergdahl was being held by members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, possibly in Pakistan.  U.S. officials are not commenting on those reports.

The U.S. has been in talks with the Taliban and made Bergdahl's release a condition for any concessions.  

There have been discussions of a possible prisoner swap, in which the U.S. soldier would be freed in exchange for the return of five detainees held at Guantanamo.

U.S. troops are going into their 13th year of fighting in Afghanistan - the longest war in U.S. history.

Bergdahl is the only U.S. soldier known to be held captive in the conflict.  
              
Pentagon officials say Bowe Bergdahl has been gone far too long.  And, they say, they will keep working for his release.

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