Taliban video show US soldier held in Afghanistan for nearly 18 months
A new video released by the Taliban shows Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known U.S. serviceman held captive in Afghanistan, with bags under his eyes and what appears to be an abrasion on his left cheek.
The video — the fourth since 24-year-old Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, was captured nearly 18 months ago — was provided to reporters Wednesday by IntelCenter, a private, U.S.-based organization that tracks Islamic extremist activities and communications.
His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, have declined to speak with reporters throughout the ordeal, but Idaho National Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano said Wednesday that they had confirmed that the man in the video was their son.
"They responded that it was him, based on the screen shots," Marsano said.
"It's been an extremely difficult year and a half. Without any concrete news, everyday brings more challenges. They do continue to take some comfort in the support they've gotten, from the community, their family and friends."
It was not clear when the video was made.
Bergdahl, who is shown on the tape wearing Afghan-style clothes, has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009, when he disappeared in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan.
According to IntelCenter, another man in the video appeared to be the Taliban commander who had once threatened to kill the U.S. soldier.
In July 2009, Taliban commander Mawlavi Sangin's spokesman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Berghdal would be killed unless the U.S. stops strikes in Ghazni province's Giro district and Paktika province's Khoshamand district.
The video, which also shows militant attacks in Afghanistan, was released by Manba al-Jihad, a video production group affiliated with the Taliban. Bergdahl appears only briefly in the video and is not the main focus.
Bergdahl has appeared in three other videos that the Taliban released on July 18, 2009, Dec. 25, 2009 and April 7.
NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz said the coalition was not sure whether the footage was old or new.
"We are still investigating this case and hope Bowe Bergdahl is still fine," he said.
Separately, two NATO service members died Wednesday following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan. The coalition did not disclose their nationalities or details about their deaths. So far this month, 12 members of the NATO coalition have been killed in Afghanistan. At least 671 have died so far this year.
The Afghan Defense Ministry on Wednesday condemned a coalition airstrike that it said mistakenly killed two Afghan soldiers on Tuesday afternoon. The ministry said in a statement that three other Afghan soldiers were wounded in the airstrike in Charkh district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan.
NATO said it was investigating the incident.
On Tuesday, Afghan soldiers killed a suicide attacker who threatened to blow himself up at an Afghan army base in the Gereshk district of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, the Afghan Defense Ministry said. The ministry did not disclose any other details of the incident.
Also in the south, one child was killed and two men were injured in a homemade bomb explosion in the Shahjoy district of Zabul province, said Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Associated Press writer John Miller in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.
Source: AP News
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