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U.S. Confirms Identity of Captured Soldier

Video

Captured soldier ID’d as 23-year-old (MSNBC, July 19, 2009) — A U.S. soldier who is apparently being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan has been identified as 23-year-old Bowe Bergdahl of Ketchum, Idaho. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (02:43)


July 19, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Sunday confirmed that an American soldier who went missing from his base in Afghanistan has been captured and identified him as a private from Idaho serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment.

The Defense Department released the name of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, one day after he was seen in a video posted online as saying he was “scared I won’t be able to go home.” …

The Pentagon statement said Bergdahl’s status was listed as whereabouts unknown on July 1 and was changed to missing-captured on July 3. He is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The soldier in the video had his head shaved and was seen with the start of a beard. He was sitting and dressed in a nondescript, gray outfit. Early in the video one captor held the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera. His name and ID number were clearly visible. He was shown eating at one point and sitting cross-legged.

The soldier gave his name, age and hometown on the video, which was released on a Web site pointed out by the Taliban. He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol.

He was interviewed in English by his captors. He was asked his views on the war, which he called extremely hard; his desire to learn more about Islam; and the morale of American soldiers, which he said was low.

Asked how he was doing, the soldier said: “Well I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”

He later choked up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

“I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day when I’m gone,” he said.

He was prompted by his interrogators to give a message to the American people.

“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,” he said. “Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country. Please bring us home. It is America and American people who have that power.”

A U.S. military spokeswoman in Afghanistan, Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, 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,” she said. “They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.” …

On July 2, the U.S. military said an American soldier had disappeared after walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts and was believed to have been taken prisoner. …

Afghans in contact with the Taliban told the AP that the soldier was held by a Taliban group led by a commander called Maulvi Sangin, who operates in the area [Paktika province] where the American went missing. They said the fighters initially planned to smuggle the soldier across the border into Pakistan but ruled that out because of U.S. missile strikes and Pakistani bombing attacks against militant targets in the area. Instead, they decided to move him north into Taliban-controlled areas of Ghazni province. …

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the militants holding the soldier haven’t yet set any conditions for his release.

———

Earlier report

Taliban threatens to kill captured U.S. soldier
(scroll down at link)

———

9/30/09 Update

Search for Captured U.S. Soldier Yields Few Clues


Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, in an undated photo provided by the Bergdahl family and released by the Idaho National Guard. Bergdahl disappeared June 30, 2009 in Afghanistan (Photo credit: Bergdahl family / AP)

By Jason Straziuso

September 30, 2009

KABUL — The troops hunting for the young private have little to go on: He disappeared near the border with Pakistan, his Taliban captors released a propaganda video of him two weeks later, downcast and frightened. Then, at least publicly, nothing about the only U.S. soldier missing in the Afghan war.

U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say they are still searching for 23-year-old Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, who disappeared June 30 — three months ago on Wednesday — but they reveal little else for fear of jeopardizing the search or his safety. Advanced intelligence gathering aircraft are being used for the hunt, but it’s not even clear if Bergdahl is being held in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

There has been no public update on the Hailey, Idaho, native since his captors posted the video of him in mid-July.

At home in Idaho, the streets are lined with yellow ribbons, and the local TV station displays one in the corner of the screen throughout the day. …

The U.S. military classifies Bergdahl as “missing-captured.” Officials will not comment on most questions surrounding his case, including the circumstances of his disappearance, which Marsano said “are not fully established.” …

One possibility is that Bergdahl’s captors are holding him in Pakistan, which is off-limits to the thousands of U.S. forces based in Afghanistan. When militants captured a reporter for The New York Times in a dangerous region of Afghanistan last year, he was transported to Pakistan and held for months there. The reporter, David Rohde, eventually escaped. …

Taliban spokesmen in Afghanistan said they had no information. In August a Taliban commander, Maulvi Sangin, told The Associated Press that he had Bergdahl and that Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s council was waiting for a response to its demands before deciding the American’s fate. …

———

12/16/09 Update

Taliban to Release Tape of Captured U.S. Soldier


December 16, 2009

KABUL — The Taliban have announced they will release a new video of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring group said Wednesday.

SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based terrorist tracking organization, said the media arm of the Afghan Taliban made the announcement Wednesday on their Web site.

The video is said to be titled, “One of Their People Testified.” The Taliban did not name the American.

The only U.S. soldier known to be in captivity is Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, who disappeared more than five months ago in Afghanistan. …

U.S. military officials have searched for Bergdahl, but it is not publicly known whether he is even being held in Afghanistan or neighboring Pakistan. …

Pakistan is off-limits to the thousands of U.S. forces based in Afghanistan. When militants captured a reporter for The New York Times in a dangerous region of Afghanistan last year, he was transported to Pakistan and held for months there. The reporter, David Rohde, eventually escaped.

———

Related report 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.

Bowe Bergdahl POW Taliban Tape (April 8, 2010)

———

FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — July 19, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day Five

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the fifth day of my campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I highlighted the growing mortgage crisis, noting that from a small-government, fiscally conservative perspective it is difficult to support the Bush administration’s plan to bail out mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.





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