U.S. officials have reportedly received the first “proof-of-life” video in three years of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 and is believed held by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.
The Associated Press says the video came to light several days ago, but unnamed officials quoted by the news agency say it’s not clear when the footage was taken. CNN, which says it has not viewed the video, quotes an unnamed U.S. official as saying it contains a reference to the date December 14, 2013.
Until the latest video, Bergdahl, a native of Wood Valley, Idaho, had not been seen since February 2011.
He was 23 when he was seized as he finished a guard shift at his outpost in southeastern Paktika province on June 30, 2009. Today, he would be 27. The AP says he’s believed to be held in Pakistan.
The Taliban have demanded the release of several of the group’s senior operatives held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for freeing Bergdahl.
In the first video of Bergdahl released shortly after his capture, he is shown wearing a shalwar kamez as he sits eating on the floor.
“Well, I am scared,” Bergdahl begins. “Um … I am scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”
A rooster crows in the background before the camera cuts to another scene.
The latest video would be the sixth of him released by his captors.
As NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston reported in 2012, there was some hope at that time that talks on securing Bergdahl’s freedom might be getting some traction.
There was discussion of transferring five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo to Qatar, “where they would be under some sort of house arrest. In exchange for their move out of Guantanamo, the Taliban would have to get the Haqqani network to release Bergdahl.” But the deal never went through and Bergdahl continued to languish.
“Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been gone far too long, and we continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release,” a Pentagon spokesman tells CNN.
“We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis — using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools — we work to see Sgt. Bergdahl returned home safely,” the spokesman said.
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