A new video has surfaced of prisoner of war Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held captive by the Taliban in Pakistan since June 2009. It is the sixth video since then showing the only American military service member to ever be captured by the Taliban.
A U.S. official confirmed today that the U.S. military is in possession of the video, but had not seen it so could not describe how Bergdahl looked or what he may have said in the video.
This is the first new video showing Bergdahl since May 2011. It remains unclear whether the Pentagon will release the video.
Bergdahl’s family released a statement saying they were notified today “that a new video of our son, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, has been distributed by his captors.”
“Naturally, this is very important to us and our resolve to continue our efforts to bring Bowe home as soon as possible,” the statement said. “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.”
The statement then directs a message to Bergdahl: “BOWE — If [you] see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!”
Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Elissa Smith said, “Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been gone too long, we call for his safe and immediate release.”
“We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis we are using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools,” she added.
Bergdahl was captured on June 30, 2009, while serving with his unit at a remote combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan. The circumstances of his capture have remained unclear as Bergdahl had been seen returning to his quarters.
The United States has made Bergdahl’s release a component of any peace talks it has held with the Taliban.
The U.S. government acknowledged in May 2012 that it was engaged in talks with the Taliban to free Bergdahl. Those talks included a potential prisoner swap that would gain Bergdahl’s release with the return of five Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan.