Captured U.S. Soldier in Taliban Video Identified

PHOTO Pfc. Bowe Robert Bergdahl has been captured by the Taliban

Department of Defense officials confirmed the identity of a captured American soldier in a video posted online Saturday by the Taliban.

Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, 23, of Hailey, Idaho, went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan on June 30. On July 3, officials declared him "missing-captured."

Early in the video, a captor holds up the soldier's dog tag to the camera. Later Bergdahl states his name and hometown.

Bergdahl is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, out of Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Bergdahl is shown in the video sitting cross-legged with a shaved head eating a meal. During the footage, the camera frequently cuts back and forth to shots of Bergdahl answering questions in short, stilted sentences.

"I am scared -- scared I won't be able to come home," Bergdahl says in the video. "It is very unnerving to be a prisoner."

Bergdahl, who appeared dressed in gray with the start of a beard, spoke of his family and the girlfriend he hopes to marry back home. For a moment, he began to break down and cry.

In subsequent shots, he was asked, "Any message to your people?"

He replied, "To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it's like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home."

The 28-minute video features more question and answers about Bergdahl's view on the war, which he called extremely hard, and about Bergdahl's desire to learn more about Islam.

The military first made Bergdahl's capture public on July 2, though he was believed captured on June 30.

A Department of Defense official told ABC News on Friday that if it hadn't been for the BBC reporting on the missing soldier on July 2, the military would have kept the capture quiet. The goal, he said, was to minimize the amount of information that might get back to his captors that might influence the military's search and recovery.

Bergdahl May Have Wandered Off

Though locals in Hailey have organized a candlelight vigil on July 8, the Bergdahl family itself has gone along with military officials' request that loved ones maintain a low profile.

Bergdahl's parents issued a statement Sunday through the Idaho National Guard, which asked that the family not be contacted.

"We hope and pray for our son's safe return to his comrades and then to our family, and we appreciate all the support and expressions of sympathy shown to us by our family members, our friends and others across the nation," Bergdahl's parents said. "Thank you, and please continue to keep Bowe in your thoughts and prayers."

The National Guard added, "Due to the sensitivity of this issue, the Bergdahls have made it clear they do not wish to be contacted by media representatives; please respect this family's privacy."

Bergdahl says in the video that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol.

However, Defense officials said it appeared he somehow left his base in Paktika Province at night, likely accompanied by several Afghan soldiers, and that his disappearance wasn't noted until the following day when his body armor and rifle were found in his quarters. There were some reports that Bergdahl had wandered off drunk with the Afghan soldiers.

Defense officials said they didn't know the real reason why he left, but speculated he might have been visiting a female and that he may have had prior behavioral issues.

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