Report: Taliban Video Shows Bergdahl's Release

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban have released a video purporting to show 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 -- perhaps because he'd been held in a dark place for a long period -- 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.

As the chopper takes off, a message flashes up in English, saying, "Don' come back to Afghanistan," the Reuters news agency notes.

The video's authenticity could not be immediately verified.

After five years in captivity, Bergdahl was freed Saturday in a trade for five Taliban detainees from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The 28-year-old is in a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

The prisoner swap that won his release has become highly controversial in the United States, with critics saying Bergdahl may have deserted his unit before being captured. Others charge the Obama administration broke the law by failing to notify Congress soon enough about the possible exchange. Still others claim the administration set a bad precedent by negotiating with "terrorists," and gave up too much in the deal.

But President Obama and the Pentagon have staunchly defended their decisions - saying a primal precedent of the U.S. military is seeking to save captive troops in foreign hands - and that Bergdahl's health was thought to be deteriorating so quickly there was no time to inform Congress of the possible deal.


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