Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

Featured Posts        





Apr 8th, 2010

Updated May 31, 2014: Bowe Bergdahl released (scroll down for latest news)


Taliban Release Video of Captured U.S. Soldier

Bergdahl talks about family, friends, but no proof positive he’s still alive


Taliban releases tape of U.S. captive (MSNBC, April 7, 2010) – The Taliban claim the video shows captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl. (01:21)

April 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Taliban released a video Wednesday of a man identified as an American soldier captured in Afghanistan last June, showing him pleading for his freedom and to be returned home.

In the video, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl says he wants to return to his family in Idaho and that the war in Afghanistan is not worth the number of lives that have been lost or wasted in prison. It is the first he has been seen since the Taliban released a video of him on Christmas Day.

The seven-minute video of Bergdahl shows him sporting a beard and doing a few push-ups to demonstrate he’s in good physical condition. There was no way to verify when the footage was taken or if he is still alive. …

Bergdahl disappeared June 30 while based in eastern Afghanistan and is the only known American serviceman in captivity. The Taliban claimed his capture in a video released in mid-July that showed the young soldier appearing downcast and frightened.

In the sometimes choppy video issued Wednesday, Bergdahl talks about his love for his family, his friends, motorcycles and sailing.

“I’m a prisoner. I want to go home,” he says in the video, which was made available by Washington-based Site Intelligence Group, which monitors militant Web sites. “This war isn’t worth the waste of human life that has cost both Afghanistan and the U.S. It’s not worth the amount of lives that have been wasted in prisons, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram, all those places where we are keeping prisoners.” …

U.S. officials have said that there were indications as recently as late January that Bergdahl was still alive.

At the end of the video, a speaker, reportedly Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, demands the release of a limited number of prisoners in exchange for the American. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

On July 19, 2009, the Department of Defense announced the identity of a soldier listed as Missing-Captured on July 3, 2009 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, was declared Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) on July 1 and his status was changed  to Missing-Captured on July 3, 2009. Pfc. Bergdahl is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The Pope’s Christmas Message 2009 (Dec. 25, 2009; scroll down)

Taliban Holding U.S. Bodies (Nov. 6, 2009)

War Comes Home to Minnesota (July 21, 2009)

Captured U.S. Soldier Identified as Bowe Bergdahl (July 19, 2009)

3 Dead in Attack on Base in Iraq (July 17, 2009)


Related report

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

On the Web:
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132

Public contact:
or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1


No. 518-11
June 16, 2011

Army Promotes Missing-Captured Soldier

The Army announced today the promotion of a soldier listed as Missing-Captured while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom to the rank of sergeant effective June 12, 2011.

Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 25, is assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

This is Bergdahl’s second promotion since he was listed as Missing-Captured on June 30, 2009.  He was promoted to the rank of specialist on June 12, 2010.

For more information on the soldier, media may contact Col. Timothy Marsano at 208-422-5268.


1/6/2012 Update

New Hope for Family of Only U.S. Soldier Held by Taliban

Image: Bowe Bergdahl (left), who has been held hostage by the Taliban since his disappearance from his unit on June 30, 2009
This still image provided on December 7, 2010 by IntelCenter shows someone that appears to be U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl (left), who has been held hostage by the Taliban since his disappearance from his unit on June 30, 2009. (Intelcenter / AFP — Getty Images)

The Associated Press and Reuters via
January 5, 2012

The family of the only U.S. soldier held by the Taliban expressed the hope he would be released “as soon as possible” following a possible deal to allow insurgents to open an office in Qatar.

The office plan is designed to enable the holding of peace talks with the United States.

Bowe Bergdahl, a 25-year-old Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho, was taken prisoner June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.

His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, released a statement Wednesday through the Idaho National Guard expressing hope that their son would be returned home soon.

“Our only son, Bowe Bergdahl, has been held captive for two and a half years. We hope he will be released as soon as possible. We know that serious discussions among diplomats are the most likely way to make this happen, and for Bowe to be returned safely to us, his family,” it added. …

In May 2011, Robert Bergdahl posted an online appeal asking the government of Pakistan and its armed forces to help free his son.

In July, the NATO security force in Afghanistan said U.S. and NATO forces had made bringing Bergdahl home a top priority. …

Full story


6/20/2013 Update

Taliban Offers to Swap American POW for Five Gitmo Detainees

By Matthew DeLuca

June 20, 2013

A senior spokesman for the Afghan Taliban said the group is ready to hand over the only known American prisoner of war from the conflict in Afghanistan in exchange for five senior operatives held at Guantanamo Bay, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 27, from Hailey, Idaho, has been held captive since 2009 after going missing from his base in Afghanistan. His whereabouts are not known, but it is believed he is being held in Pakistan. …

Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail told the AP that Bergdahl “is, as far as I know, in good condition,” in a phone interview on Thursday.

Speaking from his office in Doha, Suhail told the AP that the release of the five Taliban operatives from Guantanamo would have to come before peace talks could be opened.

“First has to be the release of detainees,” he told the news service. “Yes. It would be an exchange. Then, step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward.” …

The Bergdahl family is “encouraged by the recent news,” Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard, a spokesman for the family, told NBC News in an email on Thursday.

The family released a statement on June 6 saying they had received a letter through the Red Cross that they were “confident” had been written to them by their son. …

Full story


1/17/2014 Update

Afghan Taliban: U.S. Soldier Bergdahl a ‘Precious Bird’


U.S. Intercepts Video of Lone POW (NBC Nightly News, January 15, 2014) — NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski reports the family of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has not lost hope Bergdahl is still alive almost five years after he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan. (01:34)

By Mushtaq Yusufzai

January 16, 2014

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Members of the Afghan Taliban confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that they are still holding the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009, but claimed he sometimes stops eating and drinking.

“He is our special guest, and we consider him a precious bird, that’s why our men are taking care of him. We have been arranging food of his choice, but sometimes he stops eating and drinking and his hunger strike continues for a few days,” said a senior member of the Afghan Taliban, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. …

The United States just recently obtained a “proof of life” video of Bergdahl, the only U.S. service member held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan, officials revealed Wednesday.

The video — which the United States intercepted on a streaming feed last week — shows a frail, shaky Bergdahl making a reference to the recent death of South African leader Nelson Mandela, the officials said.

The Taliban commander said that Maulvi Sangeen, senior commander of the powerful Haqqani terror network (a faction of the Afghan Taliban), kidnapped Bergdahl from Paktika province in southern Afghanistan, near Pakistan’s troubled South Waziristan, in June 2009.

Bergdahl was later shifted to Pakistan’s tribal areas and held in the mountains, according to the Taliban commander. His captor, Sangeen, died in a U. S. drone attack last year in Pakistan’s North Waziristan.

Two years ago, when the Taliban opened their office in Qatar for peace talks with the U.S., there were prospects of an exchange of prisoners. The Haqqani network handed Bergdahl over to the Afghan Taliban because they wanted to exchange him for their top five commanders being held at Guantanamo Bay, the Taliban commander said.

“U.S. officials had promised us that first they would exchange prisoners and then start peace talks. But it didn’t take place. And finally when there was no hope of prisoners’ swap, the soldier was returned to the Haqqani network,” the Taliban commander said. …

The Taliban commander said that Bergdahl became very excited a few years ago when he learned about the potential peace between the Taliban and the U.S. and about his likely release.

“At some point we feel mercy for him, and being Muslims, we do our level best to take care of him,”he said.

According to the Taliban leader, Bergdahl had once wished to embrace Islam, but he believed the soldier was not serious and was only trying to appease his captors. …

NBC News reached out to the Bergdahl family for a reaction to the Taliban’s comments through their media liaison at the Idaho National Guard, Col. Timothy Marsano.

“The Bergdahl family appreciates his captors keeping their son in good health and hope they will continue to do so until his safe release,” said Marsano.

He called attention to a statement released by the Bergdahl family through the Idaho National Guard Wednesday in response to the “proof of life” video.

“Naturally, this is very important to us and our resolve to continue our efforts to bring Bowe home as soon as possible,” it read.

“As we have done so many times over the past 4 and a half years, we request his captors to release him safely so that our only son can be reunited with his mother and father.

“BOWE — If you see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!”

Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, joined the Army in 2008 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Less than a year later, he was deployed as a machine gunner to a combat outpost in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, a militant hotbed.

On June 30, 2009, Bergdahl was reported missing after not showing up for morning roll call. The murky circumstances of his disappearance led some to label him a deserter. …

Full story


2/21/2014 Update

Taliban Say They Discussed Prison Swap With U.S.

This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Washington has held indirect talks with the Taliban over the possible transfer of five senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan nearly five years ago, a senior Taliban official told The Associated Press. A U.S. official said the possibility of an exchange is under discussion but would not comment on whether any talks have yet occurred. (Photo credit: U.S. Army / AP)

By Kathy Gannon

February 20, 2014

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Washington has held indirect talks with the Taliban over the possible transfer of five senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a U.S. soldier captured nearly five years ago, a senior Taliban official told The Associated Press.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 27, of Hailey, Idaho, was last seen in a video released in December [2013], footage seen as “proof of life” demanded by the United States. Bergdahl is believed to be held in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the only U.S. soldier to be captured in America’s longest war, which began with the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for sheltering al-Qaida in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The talks, which the Taliban official said took place sometime over the past two months in a Middle East country, would be the first significant movement toward an exchange since it was last discussed by the U.S. and the Taliban in June 2013. …

The five Taliban detainees at the heart of the proposal are the most senior Afghans still held at the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba. Each has been held since 2002.

They include:

— Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate its control over the country.

— Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence and was in direct contact with supreme leader Mullah Omar as well as other senior Taliban figures, according to military documents. Under Wasiq, there were widespread accounts of killings, torture and mistreatment.

— Mullah Norullah Nori, who was a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001. He previously served as a Taliban governor in two northern provinces, where he has been accused of ordering the massacre of thousands of Shiites.

— Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and a military commander and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. military documents. His U.S. lawyers have argued in court papers that his affiliation with the Taliban was a matter of circumstance, rather than ideology, and that he had backed away from them by the time of his capture. His lawyers also have argued that he was merely a civil servant and had no military role, though a judge found otherwise and said there was enough evidence to justify holding him at Guantanamo. His lawyers have appealed.

— Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban’s communications office in Kabul and as an office manager in the border department, according to U.S. military documents. In the spring of 2002, he told interrogators that he received about $500 from a CIA operative as part of the unsuccessful effort to track down Mullah Omar. When that didn’t pan out, he says he ended up helping the agency locate al-Qaida members.


5/31/2014 Update

Bowe Bergdahl, Army Sergeant Held by Taliban Since 2009, Is Released

By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube

May 31, 2014

The family of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said they were overjoyed when President Barack Obama personally called them Saturday and gave them the news they were hoping desperately to hear: Their son, captured by the Taliban in 2009, was finally coming home. …

Bergdahl, 28, was rescued in Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. ET — in exchange for five prisoners who were held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center — and is back in the hands of the U.S. military, the officials said.

Bergdahl disappeared when he reportedly walked away from a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009, carrying only a compass and a bottle of water. He was the only U.S. service member ever to be held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan.

Although he appeared frail and shaky in a “proof of life” video the U.S. obtained in January, officials told NBC News that he is in good condition and able to walk upon his release.

A senior defense official said the rescue of Bergdahl, conducted by U.S. special operations forces, was “peaceful” and happened in eastern Afghanistan along the border.

Eighteen Taliban members were on the site of the exchange, the official said. Multiple U.S. helicopters and overhead surveillance assets provided support and the U.S. team was armed, but no shots were fired, the official added.

The official said that when rescuers brought Bergdahl onto the helicopter, he held up a paper plate on which he had written “SF?” questioning whether the officers were Special Forces. The operators confirmed, yelling over the roar of the helicopter: “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

Bergdahl broke down crying after their response.

“Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama also said he called Bergdahl’s parents to let them know their son would be returning home safely and thank them for their sacrifice.

“It is our ethos that we never leave a fallen comrade,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said. “Today we have back in our ranks the only remaining captured soldier from our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Welcome home SGT Bowe Bergdahl.”

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, joined the Army in 2008 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Less than a year later, he was deployed as a machine gunner to a combat outpost in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, a militant hotbed.

U.S. officials believe Bergdahl spent the majority of his time in captivity in Pakistan, and they are not sure when he was moved back into Afghanistan.

He is thought to have been captured by members of the Haqqani network, which claims allegiance to the Afghan Taliban, yet operates with some degree of autonomy. The State Department named the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization in 2012.

The transfer was not negotiated with the Haqqani network, but brokered over a week of talks through the local Qatari government, the senior official said. The opportunity to resume talks became available several weeks before the deal, “and we seized it,” said the official.

Both Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel praised the Emir of Qatar for aiding in Bergdahl’s release.

The prisoners that will be exchanged for Bergdahl are Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Abdul Haq Wasiq. There are now 149 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay.

Hagel said security measures are in place to ensure the national security of the United States would not be compromised by the prisoners’ release.

Bergdahl is being transferred to Bagram for medical care, and from there will be sent to Landstuhl, Germany to begin his reintegration process. The U.S. is working to reconnect him with his parents over the phone, but he is not likely to see them until he is back in the U.S., when he is cleared medically.

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — April 8, 2009

Bachmann’s Brainwashing Paranoia (MSNBC “Hardball,” April 7, 2009) — Sideshow: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is warning that a new bill expanding the AmeriCorps community service agency could lead to the “brainwashing” of America’s youth. Hardball guest host David Shuster reports. (02:34)

Bachmann Brainwashing Paranoia

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann issued a warning that a new bill expanding the AmeriCorps community service agency could lead to the “brainwashing” of America’s youth. Said Bachmann: “I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go and work in some of these politically correct forums.”

4 Responses to “Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Taliban Captures U.S. Troop Says:

    […] Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape (April 8, 2010) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Missing Soldier Search Continues Says:

    […] Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape (April 8, 2010) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties Says:

    […] Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape […]

  4. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Captured U.S. Soldier Identified as Bowe Bergdahl Says:

    […] Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape (April 8, 2010) […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.