Taliban release propaganda video of captive US soldier


Bowe-Bergdahl-12252009.JPG

Private Fist Class Bowe Bergdahl. Image from Taliban website.

The Taliban have released a propaganda video of Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who was captured by the Haqqani Network in June 2009 in Paktika province.

Entitled "Video of the American Prisoner," the Taliban propaganda video shows Bergdahl dressed in his combat fatigues and wearing his helmet and sunglasses. His uniform is stripped of patches and name tags. The video was produced by Al Emarah [the emirate] Studio, and released on a Taliban website. [Segments of the video are available on The Long War Journal's Video page.]

Bergdahl recites several Taliban propaganda points throughout the video. He claimed that Western governments are deliberately suppressing casualty numbers of civilians and soldiers killed; that Taliban fighters and civilians alike are tortured; that the US intentionally and indiscriminately bombs Afghan civilians; and that Afghan detainees are tortured while in custody.

Western governments and leaders "lead us to be killed like animals to the slaughter," Bergdahl said. Afghanistan will be "the next Vietnam unless the American people stand up," Bergdahl also said.

The Taliban said it would release a new videotape of Bergdahl in mid-December. The timing of the release has infuriated several senior military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal.

"This was clearly a Taliban ploy to grab a headline and create controversy here in the US on Christmas day," one official said, noting the tape was prepared to be released over 10 days ago.

Bergdahl was captured by the Haqqani Network on June 30 after leaving his small combat outpost in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika.

The Haqqani Network is the most lethal of the Taliban groups operating in Afghanistan. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe Bergdahl is currently being held in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan in Pakistan. The Pakistani government and military refuse to take on the Haqqani Network and other Taliban groups in North Waziristan.

Bergdahl was last heard from in July, when a long interview conducted by an English-speaking Taliban spokesman was released.



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READER COMMENTS: "Taliban release propaganda video of captive US soldier"

Posted by KaneKaizer at December 25, 2009 8:14 PM ET:

Pfc Bergdahl is lucky that the Taliban need him for their propaganda videos. It's the only reason he hasn't been harmed yet. Clearly he doesn't like being used for this propaganda, but at least he still has his head.

He has probably had their propaganda drilled into his head for the past 6 months, hard to say whether or not be believes what he is saying but hopefully one day he will be rescued and we can hear from him what the real story is.

Posted by Gerry at December 25, 2009 8:29 PM ET:

The question in the back of everyones mind is 'why did pfc Bergdahl walk away from his unit?'.

Posted by jay at December 25, 2009 9:25 PM ET:

you can clearly tell that in the first and second video, hes reading pre written info......but the interesting stuff is in the 3rd/4th video. how he uses hand movements, slightly chuckles a couple of times, and takes short pauses when trying to get points accross shows that its all coming from him and not from a piece of paper.

it seems convincing thats its all coming from him, seen as though he looks relaxed, but we will find out the truth when hes set free.

we have to hand it to the taliban, their media arm is doing a job for them, expect more vids to come


Posted by KaneKaizer at December 25, 2009 11:43 PM ET:

jay,


It's entirely possible that they made him memorize those statements so he wouldn't have to keep looking down, and the brief pauses were because he was having trouble remembering.

Posted by wazir at December 27, 2009 2:57 AM ET:

of course its propaganda , that does not mean its a lie

Posted by jay at December 27, 2009 7:37 AM ET:

kanekaizer - yes that could also be true, but like i said, if hes released, we'l hear the truth

Posted by TJG at December 27, 2009 10:31 AM ET:

Watch out, he may become the Avitar and kick some tail.