The Taliban has published footage showing the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl, 28, was handed to US special forces in southeastern Afghanistan after being held for five years. Five Afghan detainees were released from Guantanamo Bay as part of the prisoner exchange deal. The Video showed Bergdahl sitting in a car in the Batai area of Khost, surrounded by Taliban militants, before a U.S. helicopter carried him away. The militants were seen shouting “Long live the Mujahideen”.
Bergdahl, clean shaven, dressed in a white salwar kameez and with a shaved head, is seen waiting in a white pick-up truck as Taliban militants outside lean in to talk to him. He appears to blink in the bright light, assenting as they speak.
The Pashto narration on the video said the Americans asked the Taliban where they should meet for the handover and the Taliban told them they could meet where ever the Americans wanted to meet.
A helicopter is flew overhead and landed at a distance of about 100 metres from Bergdahl and his captors, who held white flags. The narration in the video said 18 armed militants were in the area on guard as the handover took place and that another helicopter landed on a hill nearby.
The narration also said the U.S. military “was in a rush and did not greet (them) properly”.
Taliban releases video of hostage Bergdahl's releaseThe Taliban has published footage showing the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl, held for nearly five years in Afghanistan, was freed last week in a prisoner-swap deal with the Taliban brokered by the Qatari government. Five Taliban militants were released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and flown to Qatar.
He was captured in unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in the country. Many U.S. government officials say they believe he was seized after walking away from his unit in violation of U.S. military regulations.
On Monday (June 2), Republican members of the U.S. Congress said President Barack Obama had set a dangerous precedent with the prisoner swap and might have broken the law.
Obama on Tuesday (June 3) defended the operation to rescue Bergdahl, saying the United States was committed to freeing its prisoners of war regardless of how they were captured.
The Pentagon says Bergdahl is in a stable condition at the U.S. Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where doctors were assessing his condition after five years of captivity. Officials have indicated there is little desire to pursue any disciplinary action against him given what he has been through.
The U.S. military has not said how Bergdahl fell into the insurgents’ hands, but several of those from his unit say he became disillusioned with the war and abandoned his post during a nighttime guard shift, an act of desertion that would normally incur severe punishment.
Story complied with information from Reuters and The Associated Press.
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