Missing U.S Soldier Bowe Bergdahl Seen Alive in New Video

The new proof of life video is the first in three years of Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009

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Jae C. Hong / AP

Bob Bergdahl, left, and wife, Jani, the parents of captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, talk at the "Bring Bowe Back" celebration held to honor Sgt. Bergdahl in Hailey, Idaho, June 22, 2013.

For the family of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held by the Taliban, it has been 4 years, 7 months and seventeen days since they learned their son went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan. It has been nearly three years since the last video showing their son alive.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that the U.S. military had obtained a new video showing Bergdahl, dated December 14, 2013. The Bergdahl family released a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming the video and asking again for the released of their son. “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,” the family’s statement said. “BOWE – If you see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!”

Bergdahl was serving in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan when he went missing from his base on June 30, 2009. The circumstances of his disappearance remain unclear. Bergdahl was captured by Taliban fighters and taken first to the Pakistani border town of Angoor Adda, then to the mountains of North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley, where he is believed to be held by the network of Taliban-aligned militant leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.

Soon after Bergdahl was captured, the Taliban released a video of the American dressed in local garb and with the beginnings of a wispy beard. “I am scared I won’t be able to go home,” Bergdahl said in the video. “It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.” The Bergdahl family initially remained silent in public, working behind the scenes for their son’s release. Then two years after Bowe’s capture, his father, Bob, made a Youtube video where he appealed to the Pakistani military to help secure Bowe’s safe return.

Most of the world would learn the name Bowe Bergdahl in May 2012, when a local newspaper in the Bergdahl’s hometown, Hailey, Idaho, published a story quoting the family saying “everybody is frustrated with how slowly the process has evolved.” That week, news broke that Bowe had been the subject of a failed deal to swap Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo for Bowe’s release.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

U.S. Army / AP

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Bob Bergdahl spoke with TIME in Hailey, where he described the family’s painful wait for Bowe’s return. Bob learned Pashto and grew a long beard in solidarity with his son. “His faith seems to be intact,” Bob said. “In his videos, he’s mentioned his faith in God, and that means a lot to us. We think the Taliban and these Pashtun people can identify with that. And I hope they can respect him for that. I hope they continue to treat him humanely.”

There are few details of the latest video, and Bergdahl’s fate remains in limbo. When Bob spoke with TIME in 2012, he worried that the politics of the presidential election would prevent any prisoner-swap deal that could secure Bowe’s release. “This is a war, and war doesn’t wait on politics,” he said. There was little discussion of the war in Afghanistan during the 2012 campaign, and virtually no mention of the one soldier still being held prisoner by the Taliban. As the U.S. completes its drawdown of nearly all troops by the end of this year, the Bergdahls must hope the U.S. government can cut a deal with the Haqqani Network and the Taliban that will ensure he is not left behind.

9 comments
AnnmarieDudley
AnnmarieDudley

please take out a minute to sign the petition to b ring this boy home !

yodaweed
yodaweed

Bring him home, if you can get Bin Laden you can find one of your own


frederickroyceperez
frederickroyceperez

The idea that this administration is less able than the previous administration is a non starter . The patriots who are running our foreign affairs are a noticeable improvement over the ideologues and profiteers we all became tediously familiar with one administration removed .

Playing word games anonymously on the internet to incite emotional responses is unhelpful , and insulting to those family members whose dignity is not a football for ill mannered voices to speculate about . 

Thank you .

grassroot
grassroot

He's in trouble  if he's relying on this  administration to help him.

Not an issue  as he's  just a pawn  for this outfit.

frederickroyceperez
frederickroyceperez

@JerryFrey2010 

What a hopeful and frustrating account . I suspect there is some truth to the notion that holding Bergdahl is beginning to become a losing proposition . 

grassroot
grassroot

@frederickroyceperez Tell all this  to the American Christian Pastor being held by Iran  for no other reason except that he is a Christian. 

Kerry  was there  to negotiate  neucleur    enrichment  slowdown  

and nothing was said about  this man or another known to be held by

the Iranians.   The Pastor's name is Saeed, and the other one's escapes me, but I  believe he was  a  contractor that was grabbed by this  rouge nation. 

frederickroyceperez
frederickroyceperez

@grassroot @frederickroyceperez 


As before I am lost , and indignant that someone would conflate the misery of one situation with another totally removed from the significance of the original . I remember nothing of this Pastor , or foreign policy conducted by the secretary of state , from the article here . 

This is an article of a soldier , Bowe Bergdahl , who was mysteriously kidnapped in 2009 . With what little we know now he lives a half life as a prisoner , of what in my opinion is an illegitimate , and pointless militia . 

These are the details of the incidents and situations which have gripped my attentions , directing my anger , and empathy .

It is inappropriate , and insulting , to make sweeping geopolitical comparisons of situations that have absolutely nothing to do with one , and the other . Aside from their being absorbed with groups that don't resemble each other , politically or domestically , they exist in completely separate worlds  . 

One is an active live fire war , and the other is a peaceful nation that , like it or not , shares many of the same objectives as the country I live in . 

As the individuals who command our empathy , and attention , do so specifically because of our comprehension in nature of their issues . It is unconscionable , and not a little contemptible , to be bringing theories that not only lack any logical standing , but confuse the seriousness of one individuals all to real plight with another separate unrelated persons . We know nothing of this Pastor Saeed because there is nothing related to the sorrow and misery of Bowe Bergdahl in his story .

Please stop it .