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Sunday 18 March 2018

America's only prisoner of war is alive after four years with the Taliban

Bowe Bergdahl in a video released by the Taliban in 2010 Photo: AFP
Bowe Bergdahl in a video released by the Taliban in 2010 Photo: AFP

Raf Sanchez

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier captured by the Taliban in 2009, is alive and weak-but-well, in a video obtained by the United States

The US has found a "proof of life" video showing that an American soldier held captive by the Taliban for more than four years is still alive.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, 27, is the only American prisoner of war and has not been seen since disappearing from his base in Afghanistan in 2009.

US intelligence obtained a USB drive last week with a video showing Sgt Bergdahl weak but alive and making a reference to Nelson Mandela's death last month, according to NBC News.

The video is the first evidence in more than three years that the young soldier is still alive and his parents confirmed its existence in a statement.

"Today we learned that a new video of our son, US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, has been distributed by his captors," said Robert and Jani Bergdahl.


"Naturally, this is very important to us and our resolve to continue our efforts to bring Bowe home as soon as possible. As we have done so many times over the past four 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."

They added: "Bowe – If see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!"

Sgt Bergdahl was captured in June 2009 after apparently wandering off his base in eastern Afghanistan. He is believed to have been handed over to the Haqqani network of militants based in northwest Pakistan.

The Taliban has released several videos since 2009, sometimes showing Sgt Bergdahl in his US military uniform and sometimes in civilian garb with a beard.

His parents received a letter from their son in June which was delivered through the Red Cross.

The Taliban had offered to release him in exchange for five senior militants held by the US in Guantánamo Bay but the deal never came to fruition amid disagreements on how the former detainees would be monitored.

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