A video released by the Taliban allegedly shows the transfer of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. control.
“We have no reason to doubt the video’s authenticity, but we are reviewing it,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, according to The Hill. “Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs.”
The fighters had some harsh words for Berghdal during the exchange.
“Don’t come back to Afghanistan,” a Taliban fighter tells him in Pashto, according to a translation in The Wall Street Journal. “Next time we catch you, you won’t leave here alive.”
In the video, the fighters also chant “long live the holy warriors of Afghanistan!” RELATED:
The video shows Bergdahl in traditional Afghan clothing, the white salwar kameez, clean-shaven and sitting in a white pickup truck parked on a hillside. More than a dozen Taliban fighters with machineguns, their faces mostly covered by headscarves, stand around the truck and on the hillside.
Bergdahl is seen blinking frequently as he looks out of the truck and appears to be listening as one of his captors speaks to him. At one point, he wipes his left upper eyelid as if to get rid of some dust.
A Black Hawk helicopter then lands and two Taliban fighters, one carrying a white piece of cloth tied to a stick of wood, lead Bergdahl half way toward the helicopter, a few hundred meters (yards) away.
Bergdahl is then greeted and taken by three Western-looking men in civilian clothes to the helicopter, where soldiers in Army uniforms are waiting. Before he climbs in, one of the three men pats down Bergdahl in a quick search, then soldiers help him board the Black Hawk.
According to a voiceover in the video, the handover took place around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of the two main Afghan languages.
Contributing: Associated Press