- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan | Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan, appears briefly in a newly released Taliban video standing next to a smiling insurgent commander who once threatened to kill him.

The 24-year-old serviceman from Hailey, Idaho, has bags under his eyes and what appears to be an abrasion on his left cheek in the footage.

The video, the fourth to appear since he was captured nearly 18 months ago, was provided to reporters Wednesday by IntelCenter, a private, U.S.-based organization that tracks Islamic extremist activities and communications.

His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, have declined to speak with reporters throughout the ordeal, but Idaho National Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano said Wednesday they confirmed that the man in the video is their son.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz said the coalition was not sure whether the footage was old or new. Spc. Bergdahl is seen wearing an Afghan-style, lightweight tan shirt, suggesting that the video was shot during warmer weather.

“We are still investigating this case and hope Bowe Bergdahl is still fine,” he said.

Spc. Bergdahl has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009, when he disappeared in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which also tracks Islamic extremist activities, Spc. Bergdahl is standing next to Sangin Zadran, a senior official in the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network in Paktika.

In July 2009, Mr. Sangin’s spokesman told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that Spc. Berghdal would be killed unless the U.S. stopped strikes in Ghazni province’s Giro district and Paktika province’s Khoshamand district.

Spc. Bergdahl, who is seen in just a few seconds of footage that includes a montage of past militant attacks and news events, nods occasionally as if acknowledging another speaker and often looks down at the ground.

The 69-minute video, produced by Manba al-Jihad, a video production group of the Haqqani Network, was released on the website of the Afghan Taliban on Dec. 2, but appeared on jihadist forums last month, according to SITE.

Spc. Bergdahl has appeared in three other videos that the Taliban released on July 18, 2009, Dec. 25, 2009, and April 7.



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