South Asia

Taliban video shows release of US soldier Bergdahl

US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, right, stands with a Taliban fighter in eastern Afghanistan.   | Photo Credit: Uncredited

The Afghan Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing US soldier Bowe Bergdahl’s release.

Mr. Bergdahl was released on May 31 in a swap for five senior Taliban members held in Guantanamo Bay prison.

In the video, Mr. Bergdahl sits in a pick-up vehicle wearing traditional Afghan clothes and with a shaved head. Taliban fighters stand around him holding Kalashnikov assault rifles.

“This is Alisher district in Khost province. We have brought the American soldier here to hand him over,” the video narration says.

The video also shows Taliban fighters in the surrounding hills.

Two helicopters appear in the sky and one of them lands.

“We are sure that the enemy cannot do anything, but despite that, we have taken tight security measures,” says a man’s voice on the video.

Three unarmed Americans in civilian clothes appear and the Taliban fighters holding a white flag take Mr. Bergdahl to them. They shake hands and the Americans take Mr. Bergdahl to the helicopter.

They first check him to make sure there are no arms or explosives on his body and then take him into the helicopter.

“Do not come back to Afghanistan,” the video subtitles say.

The rest of the 17-minute video shows Taliban prisoners released in the exchange being welcomed by their colleagues in a desert apparently in Qatar.

“We have no reason to doubt the video’s authenticity, but we are reviewing it,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. “Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sergeant Bergdahl the care he needs.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 9:26:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/taliban-video-shows-release-of-us-soldier-bergdahl/article6082141.ece

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