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Taliban video shows Bowe Bergdahl’s release in Afghanistan

Bergdahl video

KABUL, Afghanistan – Dressed in all white with a striped shawl across his shoulder, the gaunt-looking American looks up at the Blackhawk chopper circling overhead.

Armed Taliban men stand around him, one with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher ready.

When the chopper lands, the American is led there by two men, one carrying a white flag. He is given a patdown, loaded on to the helicopter and whisked away.

A new video released by the Taliban showed the final moments of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s five years in captivity, just before he was handed over to the United States.

The narration on the video says the transfer took place in Khost province, in eastern Afghanistan.

“We had a number of tribal elders with us … in order to build trust between us and the other side,” a voice in the video says.

“We told them that we had warned all our Mujahideen fighters in Khost province and especially in Batai area not to attack them.”

The 17-minute video also showed an unusual sight: Taliban members shaking hands with men from the Blackhawk chopper.

The Pentagon said early Wednesday it has no reason to doubt the video’s authenticity.

“But we are reviewing it,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs.”

Surrounded by Mujahideen

At one point in the video, Taliban members start chanting, “Long live Mujahideen of Afghanistan, long live Mullah Omar, the leader of Taliban.”

Mujahideen refer to those who carry out jihad.

The narrator’s voice said armed fighters were stationed throughout the transfer area.

“We waited in the area for around 10 minutes before the helicopters arrived, and there were 18 Mujahideen fighters with me in the area,” the narrator said.

Indeed, the video showed armed men perched high and low on nearby hillsides.

“Our arrangement was that once the helicopters are on the ground, three people from the other side would get off the helicopter and three from our side, including the captive, would move toward the helicopter to hand him over.”

The video has few words in English, other than this message superimposed over Bergdahl:

“Don’come back to afghanistan”

Controversial swap

Bergdahl was handed over to the United States in exchange for the release of five prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the deal, including the fact that the Obama administration failed to notify Congress 30 days in advance, as required by law.

The Obama administration justified the operation, citing Bergdahl’s health and safety, which appeared in jeopardy.

“The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule — and that is, we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

Bergdahl will remain at that U.S. Army medical center in Germany until he completes treatment, a U.S. defense official there told CNN. After that, Bergdahl will return to the United States and go to a San Antonio military base, the official said.

While some hail Bergdahl as a hero, some fellow soldiers said he was a deserter.

At least six soldiers were killed searching for Bergdahl, according to soldiers involved in the operations to find him.

As the chorus of criticism from some in Bergdahl’s platoon grows louder, residents in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, say their support of the soldier hasn’t been shaken.

“We’re leaving the politics to everybody else. We’re just glad to welcome Bowe back to us,” family friend Stefanie O’Neill said. “We’re going to let things play out when Bowe is able to tell his story.”

2 comments

  • airjackie

    As the Political attacks continue many remember the video done in 1973 when Officer John McCain and fellow POW prisoner were released by secret trade by President Nixon. The US Press ignores the 1997 video of Texas Gov. Bush greeting his guest the Taliban to the US for a tour. No problems when Bush released 500 detainees including Taliban/Al Qaeda. Obama knows the Taliban and Al Qaeda have many American friends in the Congress/Senate. Bin Laden would have been warned by US lawmakers had they been told of the Obama search set up in 2009 as Bush ended any search in 2004. Many remember the close friendship in 2001-2009 our President had with Middle East leaders, Taliban and Al Qaeda. Notice how no one talks about the Iran hostage crisis that President Reagan/VP Bush did behind the scenes trade for the release of 52 Americans.

    • manalishi

      AIRWACKIE the paid partisan punk. This is 2014 and our president (bath house Barry Soertoro) just traded 5 high level taliban warriors for 1 traitor deadbeat and left good soldiers behind. Pathetic.

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