New Video Shows Captured U.S. Soldier; Idaho Parents Ask For His Release
The U.S. military has obtained a new video showing captured Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl alive. The Idaho native has been a prisoner of the Taliban for the last four-and-a-half years.
CNN and NBC say military officials who have seen the video describe Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as looking frail and shaky. The video is thought to be from mid-December. Bergdahl makes a reference to the death of Nelson Mandela, according to NBC.
The video was reportedly intercepted on a thumb drive and has not been released.
Bowe's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, said in a statement released through the Idaho National Guard that they are aware of the video and asked his captors to release him. The statement also included a message for their son: “Bowe - If see [you] this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!”
Bergdahl was captured near his base in southeast Afghanistan at the end of June 2009. Since then, Bergdahl, now 27, has appeared in a handful of Taliban videos. He's the only known U.S. prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict.
Leaders in the Taliban have floated the idea of a prisoner swap, where Bergdahl would be exchanged for Guantanamo Bay detainees. Last spring, the deal was expected to be an opening, “goodwill” gesture in U.S. peace negotiations with the insurgent group. However, those talks failed to get off the ground.
The Bergdahls have received at least one letter from Bowe through the International Red Cross indicating he was alive. It's believed Bergdahl is now being held by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, possibly in Pakistan.