Taliban Release Video of Soldier Exchange

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released on Saturday in return for five Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay who were flown to Qatar.

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A video of the release of U.S. army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces after five years in captivity was released on Wednesday by the Taliban, Yahoo News reported.

Bergdahl was freed on Saturday in exchange for the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees, who were flown to Qatar.

The deal has caused controversy in the United States, with Republicans warning it could put American lives at risk. The U.S. has said it would review the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture in 2009.

The video shows Bergdahl in white Afghani clothing and waiting in a truck in a hilly location, before getting out of the truck as a military helicopter approaches and lands. Three plainclothes men alight from the helicopter and approach Bergdahl, who is flanked by armed men holding a white flag.

The rescuers shake hands with Bergdahl's captors, embrace him and then return hurriedly to the helicopter. The exchange takes less than a minute.

Entitled "Ceremony of the American soldier exchange," the video at one point displays the words "Don't Come Back to Afghanistan" superimposed over footage of Bergdahl.

To a background of religious music and chants of "Allahu Akbar," a male narrator explains that the exchange occurred in the eastern Afghan province of Khost.

"The Americans contacted us and asked us where was a good place to meet. We contacted tribal elders to come and join us, because we do not trust them (Americans)," the narrator says.

"I congratulate all the mujahideen for this victory."

The authenticity of the video has not been independently verified.

Dozens of U.S, special forces troops in helicopters and fixed-wing planes provided backup for the handover, according to U.S. officials.

"Fortunately, no shots were fired," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday. "There was no violence. It went as well as we not only had expected and planned, but I think as well as it could have."

Bergdahl is being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany before being returned to the U.S.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in an undated photo. Credit: AP



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