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Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — As a thin, tense-looking Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces, one of his Taliban captors leaned in and warned him: “Don’t come back to Afghanistan. You won’t make it out alive next time.”

Then, the American soldier, wearing traditional loose-fitting Afghan trousers and a long tunic, was led away to a U.S. military helicopter, where he was patted down for explosives or other weapons before climbing aboard.

The weekend handover in the dusty desert was documented in a 17-minute video emailed to news organizations Wednesday by the Taliban, which touted the exchange of Bergdahl for five Guantanamo detainees as a victory, while debate raged in the U.S. over the deal and whether the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, should be punished as a deserter.

Bergdahl’s hometown on Wednesday canceled plans for a welcome-home celebration later this month, citing concerns over its ability to handle the large crowds – both for and against the soldier – that were expected. The town of 8,000 has been swamped with critical emails and phone calls over Bergdahl.

Some Americans have questioned whether he deserves a hero’s welcome, since he was captured after walking away from his unit, unarmed, in 2009. U.S. lawmakers and others have also complained that Congress should have been consulted about the prisoner exchange, that the deal will embolden the Taliban to snatch more American soldiers, and that the released Afghans will filter back to the battlefield.

In Washington, Rob Williams, the U.S. national intelligence officer for South Asia, told the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday that four of the men are expected to resume activities with the Taliban, according to two senior congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was classified.

Under the terms of the exchange, the five Taliban detainees will have to stay for a year in Qatar. There, they will be free to communicate with their comrades in Afghanistan by courier, one of the congressional officials said.

The five include the former Taliban interior minister, who was described in a U.S. case file leaked by WikiLeaks as having had close ties to Osama bin Laden; the Taliban’s former deputy chief of intelligence; and a former member of a joint Taliban-al-Qaida cell.

The video of Bergdahl after five years in captivity shows a well-choreographed release, with the American sitting in a silver pickup truck while more than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns and faces largely covered by scarves stand guard nearby and on a rocky hill overlooking the site.

Bergdahl, his head shaved, blinks frequently and looks tense as he peers out of the truck. At one point, he wipes his eye as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter lands, kicking up a cloud of dust. Two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white flag of truce tied to a long, crooked stick, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl and carrying a plastic bag, halfway toward the chopper.

Three apparent members of U.S. special operations forces approach the group, shake hands with the two Taliban fighters and take Bergdahl toward the helicopter.

One of the three men pats down Bergdahl, while another takes the plastic bag from him and drops it on the ground. Then they all climb into the helicopter.

According to a voiceover on the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in rugged Khost province, near the Pakistani border.

As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men is heard warning Bergdahl not to come back. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” the man says in Pashto as some of the other fighters are heard laughing.

As if to underscore the point, similar words appear on the video in broken English: “Don come back to afghanistan.”

Back in the U.S., Sue Martin, a friend of the Bergdahl family and owner of Zaney’s Coffee Shop in Hailey, said Bergdahl’s appearance in the video shocked her. She said he looked frail, tired and damaged.

“That’s not the Bowe who left here and lived here,” Martin said.

Bergdahl was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to the media, quoted leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as saying the release of the five Taliban was a significant achievement for the movement.

President Barack Obama has defended the swap, citing a “sacred” obligation to not leave men and women in uniform behind.

On Capitol Hill, Obama’s goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba faced re-energized opposition from Republicans and increased questioning from fellow Democrats in reaction to the trade.

Obama appeared to be making headway last month when a Senate panel approved greater authority for him to transfer suspected terrorists to the U.S.

But the Bergdahl trade has driven a new wedge between the president and lawmakers of both parties who accuse the Obama administration of breaking the law by not giving Congress 30 days’ notice.

Hoping to ease mounting criticism, officials from the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies planned a private briefing with senators Wednesday evening.

Some of Bergdahl’s former comrades have complained that U.S. soldiers died during the search for him after he walked away from his base. The military has not confirmed such a link.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, and he cautioned against drawing conclusions until then.

“It’s not in the interests of anyone, and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sgt. Bergdahl’s family … to presume anything. We don’t do that in the United States. We rely on facts,” he said at a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

Lee Ann Ferris, a neighbor of the Bergdahls in Hailey, said the town is trying not to pay attention to the criticism of the soldier and the talk about how he fell into Taliban hands.

“It’s like a modern-day lynching. He hasn’t even been able to give his side of the story yet. This community will welcome him back no matter what,” she said.

Dilanian reported in Washington. Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Brussels, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Brian Skoloff in Hailey, Idaho, and Kim Gamel in Cairo contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — As a thin, tense-looking Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces, one of his Taliban captors leaned in and warned: “Don’t come back to Afghanistan. You won’t make it out alive next time.”

Then, the American soldier, wearing traditional loose-fitting Afghan trousers and a long tunic, was led away to a U.S. military helicopter, where he was patted down for explosives or other weapons before climbing aboard.

The weekend handover in the dusty desert was documented in a 17-minute video emailed to news organizations Wednesday by the Taliban, which touted the exchange of Bergdahl for five Guantanamo detainees as a victory, while debate rages in the U.S. over the deal and whether the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, should be punished as a deserter.

U.S. lawmakers and others have complained that Congress should have been consulted, that the prisoner swap will embolden the Taliban to snatch more American soldiers, and that the released Afghans will filter back to the battlefield.

In Washington, Rob Williams, the U.S. national intelligence officer for South Asia, told the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday that four of the men are expected to resume activities with the Taliban, according to two senior congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was classified.

Under the terms of the exchange, the five Taliban detainees will have to stay for a year in Qatar. There, they will be free to communicate with their comrades in Afghanistan by courier, one of the congressional officials said.

The five include the former Taliban interior minister, who was described in a U.S. case file leaked by WikiLeaks as having had close ties to Osama bin Laden; the Taliban’s former deputy chief of intelligence; and a former member of a joint Taliban-al-Qaida cell.

The video of Bergdahl after five years in captivity shows a well-choreographed release, with the American sitting in a silver pickup truck while more than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns and faces largely covered by scarves stand guard nearby and on a rocky hill overlooking the site.

Bergdahl, his head shaved, blinks frequently and looks tense as he peers out of the truck. At one point, he wipes his eye as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter lands, kicking up a cloud of dust. Two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white flag of truce tied to a long, crooked stick, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl and carrying a plastic bag, halfway toward the chopper.

Three apparent members of U.S. special operations forces approach the group, shake hands with the two Taliban fighters and take Bergdahl toward the helicopter.

One of the three men pats down Bergdahl, while another takes the plastic bag from him and drops it on the ground. Then they all climb into the helicopter.

According to a voiceover on the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in rugged Khost province, near the Pakistani border.

As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men is heard warning Bergdahl not to come back. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” the man says in Pashto as some of the other fighters are heard laughing.

As if to underscore the point, similar words appear on the video in broken English: “Don come back to afghanistan.”

Back in the U.S., Sue Martin, a friend of the Bergdahl family and owner of Zaney’s Coffee Shop in Hailey, said Bergdahl’s appearance in the video shocked her. She said he looked frail, tired and damaged.

“That’s not the Bowe who left here and lived here,” Martin said.

Bergdahl was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to the media, quoted leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as saying the release of the five Taliban was a significant achievement for the movement.

President Barack Obama has defended the swap, citing a “sacred” obligation to not leave men and women in uniform behind.

On Capitol Hill, Obama’s goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba faced re-energized opposition from Republicans and increased questioning from fellow Democrats in reaction to the trade.

Obama appeared to be making headway last month when a Senate panel approved greater authority for him to transfer suspected terrorists to the U.S.

But the Bergdahl trade has driven a new wedge between the president and lawmakers of both parties who accuse the Obama administration of breaking the law by not giving Congress 30 days’ notice.

Hoping to ease mounting criticism, officials from the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies planned a private briefing with senators Wednesday evening.

Some of Bergdahl’s former comrades have complained that U.S. soldiers died during the search for him after he walked away from his base, unarmed, in 2009. The military has not confirmed such a link.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, and he cautioned against drawing conclusions until then.

“It’s not in the interests of anyone, and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sgt. Bergdahl’s family … to presume anything. We don’t do that in the United States. We rely on facts,” he said at a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

Lee Ann Ferris, a neighbor of the Bergdahls in Hailey, said the town is trying not to pay attention to the criticism of the soldier and the talk about how he fell into Taliban hands.

“It’s like a modern-day lynching. He hasn’t even been able to give his side of the story yet. This community will welcome him back no matter what,” she said.

Dilanian reported in Washington. Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Brussels, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Brian Skoloff in Hailey, Idaho, and Kim Gamel in Cairo contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — As a tense-looking Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces, one of his Taliban captors warned him: “Don’t come back to Afghanistan. You won’t make it out alive next time.”

Then, the American soldier, wearing traditional loose-fitting Afghan trousers and a long tunic, was led away to a U.S. military helicopter, where he was patted down for explosives or other weapons before he was allowed to climb aboard.

The weekend handover was documented in a 17-minute video emailed to news organizations Wednesday by the Taliban, which touted the exchange of Bergdahl for five Guantanamo detainees as a victory, while debate rages in the U.S. over the deal and whether the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, should be punished as a deserter.

U.S. lawmakers and others have complained that Congress should have been consulted, that the prisoner swap will embolden the Taliban to snatch more American soldiers, and that the released Afghans will filter back to the battlefield.

In Washington, Rob Williams, the U.S. national intelligence officer for South Asia, told the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday that four of the men are expected to resume activities with the Taliban, according to two senior congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was classified.

Under the terms of the swap, the five Taliban detainees will have to stay for a year in Qatar, where officials gave assurances that the men will be monitored.

The five were some of the most senior Afghans held at Guantanamo.

They include the former Taliban interior minister, who was described in a U.S. case file leaked by WikiLeaks as having had close ties to Osama bin Laden; a commander whose file says he was present at a 2001 prison riot that led to the death of CIA operative Johnny Michael Spann; the Taliban’s former deputy chief of intelligence; and a former member of a joint Taliban-al-Qaida cell described in U.S. documents as “one of the most significant former Taliban leaders” held at Guantanamo.

In Qatar, the men will be in a position to communicate with comrades in Afghanistan, one of the senior congressional aides said.

“They are going to be able to see whoever they want, so they will be able to communicate by courier,” the official said.

The video of Bergdahl after five years in captivity shows a well-choreographed release, with the American sitting in a silver pickup truck while more than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns and faces largely covered by scarves stand guard nearby and on a rocky desert hill overlooking the site.

A thin-looking Bergdahl, his head shaved, blinks frequently and looks tense as he peers out of the truck. At one point, he wipes his eye as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands, and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white cloth tied to a stick, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl and carrying a plastic bag, halfway toward the chopper.

Three apparent members of U.S. special operations forces approach the group, shake hands with the two Taliban fighters and lead Bergdahl toward the helicopter.

One of the three men then pats down Bergdahl, while another takes the plastic bag from him and drops it on the ground. Then they all climb into the helicopter.

According to a voiceover on the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in Khost province, near the Pakistani border.

As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men is heard warning Bergdahl not to come back. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” the man says in Pashto as some of the other fighters are heard laughing.

As if to underscore the point, similar words appear on the video in broken English: “Don come back to afghanistan.”

Back in the U.S., Sue Martin, a friend of the Bergdahl family and owner of Zaney’s Coffee Shop in Hailey, said Bergdahl’s appearance in the video shocked her. She said he looked frail, tired and damaged.

“That’s not the Bowe who left here and lived here,” Martin said.

Bergdahl was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to the media, quoted leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as saying the release of the five Taliban was a significant achievement for the movement.

President Barack Obama has defended the swap, citing a “sacred” obligation to not leave men and women in uniform behind.

On Capitol Hill, Obama’s goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba faced re-energized opposition from Republicans and increased questioning from fellow Democrats in reaction to the trade.

Obama appeared to be making headway last month when a Senate panel approved greater authority for him to transfer suspected terrorists to the U.S.

But the Bergdahl trade has driven a new wedge between the president and lawmakers of both parties who accuse the Obama administration of breaking the law by engineering the swap without 30 days’ notice to Congress.

Hoping to ease mounting criticism, officials from the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies planned a private briefing with senators Wednesday evening.

Some of Bergdahl’s former comrades have complained that U.S. soldiers died during the search for him after he walked away from his base, unarmed, in 2009. The military has not confirmed such a link.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, and he cautioned against drawing conclusions until that is done.

“It’s not in the interests of anyone, and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sgt. Bergdahl’s family … to presume anything. We don’t do that in the United States. We rely on facts,” he said at a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

Lee Ann Ferris, who lives next door to the Bergdahls in Hailey and watched Bowe Bergdahl grow up, said the town is trying not to pay attention to the criticism of the soldier and the discussion about how he fell into Taliban hands.

“It’s like a modern-day lynching. He hasn’t even been able to give his side of the story yet. This community will welcome him back no matter what,” she said.

Dilanian reported in Washington. Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Brussels, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Brian Skoloff in Hailey, Idaho, and Kim Gamel in Cairo contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. forces and bundled into a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the abducted American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The exchange and still-murky circumstances of how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago have prompted a fierce debate in Washington after the five freed Taliban were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country that served as a mediator between the two sides.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, insisting it is unfair to Bergdahl’s family to make assumptions before that is done.

The 17-minute video, which was emailed to media organizations, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white shalwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on a rocky desert hillside overlooking the site.

Bergdahl blinks frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl around his shoulders, half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the helicopter.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, near the Pakistani border. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. forces and bundled into a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the abducted American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The exchange and still-murky circumstances of how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago have prompted a fierce debate in Washington after the five freed Taliban were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country that served as a mediator between the two sides.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, insisting it is unfair to Bergdahl’s family to make assumptions before that is done.

The 17-minute video, which was emailed to media organizations, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white shalwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on a rocky desert hillside overlooking the site.

Bergdahl blinks frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl around his shoulders, half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the helicopter.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, near the Pakistani border. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. forces and bundled into a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the abducted American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The exchange and still-murky circumstances of how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago have prompted a fierce debate in Washington after the five freed Taliban were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country that served as a mediator between the two sides.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, insisting it is unfair to Bergdahl’s family to make assumptions before that is done.

The 17-minute video, which was emailed to media organizations, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white shalwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on a rocky desert hillside overlooking the site.

Bergdahl blinks frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl around his shoulders, half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the helicopter.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, near the Pakistani border. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. forces and bundled into a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the abducted American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The exchange and still-murky circumstances of how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago have prompted a fierce debate in Washington after the five freed Taliban were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country that served as a mediator between the two sides.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, insisting it is unfair to Bergdahl’s family to make assumptions before that is done.

The 17-minute video, which was emailed to media organizations, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white shalwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on a rocky desert hillside overlooking the site.

Bergdahl blinks frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl around his shoulders, half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the helicopter.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, near the Pakistani border. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being handed over to U.S. forces and bundled into a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the abducted American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The exchange and still-murky circumstances of how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago have prompted a fierce debate in Washington after the five freed Taliban were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country that served as a mediator between the two sides.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Army will review the case, insisting it is unfair to Bergdahl’s family to make assumptions before that is done.

The 17-minute video, which was emailed to media organizations, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white shalwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machine guns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on a rocky desert hillside overlooking the site.

Bergdahl blinks frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl, now wearing a gray shawl around his shoulders, half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the helicopter.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, near the Pakistani border. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video emailed to media shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Taliban Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video emailed to media shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Taliban Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, possibly looking for explosives, then soldiers help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, (http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video emailed to media, ( http://apne.ws/1kKknrJ ), shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Taliban Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, then soldiers help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video, emailed to media, shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Taliban Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, then soldiers help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, some of the Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement. The Taliban had announced the exchange with “great happiness and joy” and said they were seeking the release of additional prisoners, though they provided no specifics.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The release of the five Taliban was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them. The five were among the most senior Afghans still held at Guantanamo.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has criticized the swap, saying it was “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. It also criticized the restrictions put on the five Taliban officials freedom of movement in Qatar.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video, emailed to media, shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as his captors speak to him. A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half the way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting and help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, a group of Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The five Taliban officials’ release was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents.

The 17-minute video, emailed to media, shows the moment of Bergdahl’s handover. He was freed on Saturday after five years in captivity, and exchanged for the five Guantanamo detainees who were flown to Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab country which has served as a mediator in the negotiations for the swap.

Since his release, the 28-year-old from Hailey, Idaho, was reported to be in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

The Taliban video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as his captors speak to him. A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half the way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting and help him board the Black Hawk.

According to a voiceover in the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of two main Afghan languages.

“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” the man tells Bergdahl. “You won’t make it out alive next time,” he adds as some of the others are heard laughing. The same words appear over the video in English, with misspellings.

Just before the helicopter lands, a group of Taliban near the pickup shout: “Long life to Mujahedeen,” or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.

A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement.

U.S. Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon was reviewing the video even though it had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.

The five Taliban officials’ release was conditioned on assurances from officials in Qatar, where they will have to stay for one year, that they will track them and allow the U.S. to monitor them.

But even as Bergdahl’s hometown celebrates his release, the Army is contemplating pursuing an investigation that could lead to desertion or other charges against him.

The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before he was captured by the Taliban. Members of Bergdahl’s unit and military officials have complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger and that some were killed in missions that included looking for him.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban have released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan.

The video, emailed to media on Wednesday, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing sitting in a pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks at and listens to his captors.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white flag, lead Bergdahl half way. He is greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothing to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting.

After five years in captivity, Bergdahl was released Saturday in a swap for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo.

Taliban video shows handover of US soldier

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban have released a video showing the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan.

The video, emailed to media on Wednesday, shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing sitting in a pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns stand around the truck and on the hillside.

Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks at and listens to his captors.

A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white flag, lead Bergdahl half way. He is greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothing to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting.

After five years in captivity, Bergdahl was released Saturday in a swap for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo.