(Note: WordPress has been down the past day or so or I would have got this to my readers sooner)
The Taliban (via al Emara) has finally released what is purported to be a new video of Pfc Bowe Bergdahl, the captured soldier held in Afghanistan.
Although not officially confirmed to be Bergdahl, it appears to be him.
Remember, before making judgments after viewing this video…what the US POW’s in Vietnam were forced to do.
UPDATE: From the Los Angeles Times:
The U.S. military indirectly confirmed that the man shown in the video was Bergdahl, and asserted that he spoke under duress.
Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the chief spokesman for the NATO forces, called the 36-minute video a “horrible act which exploits a young soldier, who was clearly compelled to read a prepared statement.”
Bergdahl, an Idaho native and a member of an infantry unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, is the only U.S. service member known to have been seized by insurgents during the Afghan conflict, which is now in its ninth year.
He vanished June 30 from his base in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province, bordering Pakistan, and military authorities acknowledged at the time that the 23-year-old soldier was believed to have walked away from his post, for unknown reasons.
The remote base where he was stationed lies in an area where the Taliban and other insurgent groups operate freely. Some of the 30,000 American troops being sent to Afghanistan in the coming year are expected to be deployed in the east, along with the volatile south.
Bergdahl had not been heard from since July 19, nearly three weeks after his capture. At that time, his captors released a video showing him clad in traditional Afghan dress, appearing distraught, calling for a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
The new video shows Bergdahl clad in what appear to be American military fatigues and a helmet, his eyes shielded by large sunglasses. He is pale but appears in generally good condition, and says in the video that he is not being mistreated.
The Taliban had announced earlier this month that a new video of Bergdahl would soon be released, and its distribution on Christmas was characterized by the American military as an effort to exploit both the holiday and the soldier’s captivity for maximum propaganda purposes.
“To release this video on Christmas Day is an affront to the deeply concerned family and friends of Bowe Bergdahl, demonstrating a contempt for religious traditions and the teachings of Islam,” Smith said in his statement.
There was no indication of when the video was made. Because of that, a senior U.S. official said it is not regarded as proof that Bergdahl is still alive.