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Taliban release video of captured US soldier

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-25

The Taliban have released a video of captured US soldier Robert Bergdahl, six months in to his captivity. The Taliban want the release of their prisoners from US detention centres in exchange for Bergdahl's freedom.

AFP - The Taliban released a new video on Friday purportedly showing US soldier Bowe Robert Bergdahl who was captured in Afghanistan about six months ago.

A spokesman for the hardline Islamist group said it was demanding the release of prisoners from US detention centres in exchange for Bergdahl's freedom.

The video features several clips of Bergdahl, 23, including one where he is in front of a carpet wearing in combat fatigues, a helmet and sunglasses, and another where he is seen shaven-headed in grey robes.

"I'm afraid to tell you that this war has slipped from our fingers and it's just going to be our next Vietnam unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense," he said.

Bergdahl, a private first class who disappeared on June 30, is the first US soldier to be captured in Afghanistan since the US-led war in 2001.

In the video, Bergdahl gives details about himself such as his rank, date and place of birth and other family information, as well as deployment details.

There was no immediate comment from the US military or NATO forces in Afghanistan about the video.

"We are ready to release him in exchange for the release of our prisoners but the Americans are not ready to release our prisoners in exchange for their soldier," a Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, told AFP.

"He is not being tortured or tormented. He is being dealt with according to Sharia teachings of a war hostage," he added, without saying what would happen if the Taliban demands were not met.

The Taliban issued another video of Bergdahl in July, showing a visibly shaken shaven-headed soldier pleading for US troops to leave the war-torn nation.

Ahmadi said the purpose of releasing the second video was to show to the world that the Taliban were winning the war more than eight years after the US-led invasion.

"We want to show to the world that this is an invasion of Afghanistan, they are invaders, we want to show we are winning this war and the invaders will be either killed or captured like this."

It was not clear when the video was made.

A man claiming to be a local Taliban commander told AFP in July that the kidnapped soldier had been taken across the border to Pakistan, where the Taliban are also waging an insurgency.

But Ahmadi insisted Bergdahl was being kept inside Afghanistan and was never taken to Pakistan. Such claims are impossible to verify.

A commander of the Taliban's Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani faction, which is active in southeastern provinces of Paktya, Paktika and Khost which share a long porous border with Pakistan, claimed the abduction on July 2.

Bergdahl went missing from Paktya province.

In July, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced his capture as "outrageous" and said the United States was doing everything it could to locate and free him.

Hundreds of US soldiers and troops from other nations have been killed in Afghanistan battling the widening Taliban-led insurgency.

Date created : 2009-12-25