Bowe Bergdahl, Captured U.S. Soldier in Taliban Video Identified - ABC News
Department of Defense officials confirmed the identity of a captured American soldier in a video posted online Saturday by the Taliban.
Private first class Bowe Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan on June 30. On July 3, officials declared him "missing-captured."
Early in the video, a captor holds up the soldier's dog tag to the camera; later Bergdahl states his name and hometown on the video. Bergdahl is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Bergdahl is shown in the video sitting cross-legged with a shaved head eating a meal. During the footage, the camera frequently cuts back and forth to shots of Bergdahl answering questions in short, stilted sentences.
"I am scared. Scared I won't be able to come home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner," Bergdahl says in the video
Bergdahl, who appeared dressed in gray with the start of a beard, spoke of his family and the girlfriend he hopes to marry back home. For a moment he began to break down and cry. In following shots, he was asked, "Any message to your people?"
He replied, "To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it's like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home."
The 28-minute video features more question and answers about Bergdahl's view on the war, which he calls extremely hard, and about Bergdahl's desire to learn more about Islam.
On July 2, the military told The Associated Press that a U.S. soldier had disappeared after walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts. At the time he was believed to have been taken prisoner.
Bergdahl says in the video that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. His family released a statement through the Idaho National Guard, and is asking for privacy during this time: "We hope and pray for our son's safe return to his comrades and then to our family, and we appreciate all the support and expressions of sympathy shown to us by our family members, our friends and others across the nation. Thank you, and please continue to keep Bowe in your thoughts and prayers."
U.S. Military: Taliban Using Soldier for 'Propaganda'
Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, a U.S. military spokeswoman in Afghanistan, said the Taliban was using their captive for propaganda.
"I'm glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video," Sidenstricker saud. "They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law."
Bergdahl says in the video that the date was July 14, although it is unclear from the video alone that the date is authentic.
In the video, Bergdahl speaks about a recent helicopter crash, saying that he heard a Chinook helicopter carrying 37 NATO troops had been shot down over the Helmand Provence in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reports that a helicopter carrying six Ukrainian civilians on a reported humanitarian mission for NATO forces was shot down in southern Afghanistan July 14.
Afghans speaking on the condition of anonymity told the AP that the soldier was held by a Taliban group led by a commander called Maulvi Sangin, who operates in the area where the American went missing.
The Afghans, who are in contact with the Taliban, said Bergdahl's captors planned to smuggle him into Pakistan, but then decided to move him into Taliban-controlled areas of the Ghanzi province.
The AP said it is impossible to independently confirm the anonymous Afghans' information.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report