Proof of life video shows Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s health is diminishing after five years in an Afghani prison. The United States military has obtained a video made by Bergdahl’s captives; the video showed the lone American prisoner suffering from ill health.
Proof of Life
Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009 by the Haqqini network, a Taliban-aligned organization in Pakistan, according to military officials. The Taliban recorded his capture and released the video in mid-July, showing Bergdahl looking frightened and downcast. The proof of life video was the first in almost three years and was dated December 14, 2013. Bergdahl appeared gaunt and was speaking, but what he was saying is unknown, reported a military spokesman.
While the U.S. has made efforts to free Bergdahl, through diplomatic negotiations and mediations, all attempts have failed. According to a Pentagon spokesperson, Sgt. Bergdahl has been imprisoned far too long and needs to be released. The U.S. military continues to work towards his freedom, however specific details cannot be disclosed, but daily efforts are being made for his safe release.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Capture
Sgt. Bergdahl was 23 when he left his base camp in Fort Richardson, Alaska, where he was a member of the 25th Infantry Division, just five months before his June 30th disappearance in Pakistan. He was taken prisoner after he finished his guard shift duty at a Pakitika province combat outpost. He was reported missing when he was not present during morning roll call. His mysterious disappearance led some to believe he was a deserter.
May 2012, the U.S. government announced negotiation with the Taliban to gain Bergdahl’ release had begun. Negotiations were rocky regarding prisoners being swapped between the U.S. and the Taliban because concerns arose about repatriated Taliban prisoners returning to the war, possibly wounding and killing American soldiers. Later that year, the White House stated it was prepared to swap five Taliban captives to Qatar for Sgt. Bergdahl. The hope is Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s proof of life video, showing his health is diminishing, may jump start new efforts to gain his release.
The details of Bergdahl’s capture remain a mystery. U.S. officials reported to the Associated Press that a soldier, assumed to be Bergdahl, walked off base with three Afghanis and disappeared; the Taliban reported a different story, stating the American soldier was drunk when he left his garrison and was apprehended by militants. Bergdahl recalled the incident in the first video the Taliban released. He stated he was apprehended after being behind the group during a patrol.
The Taliban has come forth and offered a deal to release Bergdahl in exchange for five of their operatives currently being held at Guatanamo Bay. President Obama and his administration, citing the longstanding policy that the U.S. does not negotiate with terrorists, turned down the proposal.
The Haqqini network contacted Bergdahl’s family, through the Red Cross. They received a letter they assume was written by Bergdahl.
In a 2010 video, Bergdahl stated he was a prisoner and wanted to go home. The proof of life video shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s health is diminishing, time may be running out.
By Deborah Baran