Defense

Taliban Tells Bergdahl ‘Don’t Come Back to Afghanistan’

The Taliban released a dramatic video Wednesday showing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. special forces.

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Stephanie Gaskell, Defense One
June 4, 2014, 7:55 a.m.

While Army Sgt. Bowe Ber­g­dahl re­cov­ers at a mil­it­ary hos­pit­al in Ger­many after be­ing held cap­tive by the Taliban for 5 years, new video emerged Wed­nes­day show­ing the dra­mat­ic mo­ment he was re­leased to U.S. spe­cial forces.

The 17-minute video, re­leased by the Afghan Taliban, shows Ber­g­dahl clean-shaven and dressed in white tra­di­tion­al Afghan dress on a moun­tain­side in east­ern Khost province on Sat­urday. One of the Taliban mem­bers can be heard telling Ber­g­dahl in Pashto, “Don’t come back to Afgh­anistan. You won’t make it out alive next time,” ac­cord­ing to a trans­la­tion by the As­so­ci­ated Press. Sev­er­al of the men are heard laugh­ing.

A Pentagon spokes­man told AP there was no reas­on to doubt the au­then­ti­city of the video. “Re­gard­less, we know the trans­fer was peace­ful and suc­cess­ful, and our fo­cus re­mains on get­ting Sgt. Ber­g­dahl the care he needs,” Rear Adm. John Kirby said Wed­nes­day.

Once aboard the Black­hawk heli­copter, U.S. mil­it­ary of­fi­cials said Ber­g­dahl wrote on a piece of pa­per “SF?” — mean­ing spe­cial forces. When the Amer­ic­an troops on board yelled out “Yes!” Ber­g­dahl broke down in tears. Ber­g­dahl re­mains at Land­stuhl Mil­it­ary Med­ic­al Cen­ter in Ger­many, where he is re­cov­er­ing. U.S. mil­it­ary of­fi­cials are plan­ning to ques­tion him about what happened the night he was cap­tured after re­portedly walk­ing off his base in Afgh­anistan in 2009.

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