Captured U.S.soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Afghan Taliban as part of a prisoner swap on Monday. White House sources confirm that Bergdahl’s deteriorating condition played a significant role in the decision to go ahead with the prisoner swap deal. The Taliban released a video Wednesday, June 4th, showing the handover of captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to American troops who landed in a helicopter. In the Bergdahl video, the American is wearing native Afghan robes, and he appears nervous and blinks frequently. He is seen sitting in a pickup truck with a number of Taliban fighters armed with assault rifles and and grenade launchers standing nearby. Moments later a helicopter is seen approaching. The handoff happened almost immediately, with three men dressed in civilian clothing approaching Bergdahl and two Taliban, shaking hands, and escorting Bergdahl back to the helicopter. A plastic bag Bergdahl had been carrying was dropped and he was given a brief pat down by one of his escorts before boarding the chopper.
Bergdahl video warns him to not come back
Early in the video, as the helicopter approaches, one of Taliban is seen talking to Bergdahl sitting in the truck. He purportedly tells Bergdahl: “Don’t come back to Afghanistan. If you do, you won’t make it out alive next time.” The warning prompted approving laughter from the other Taliban fighters standing within earshot.
Statement from President Obama
President Obama spoke to the press about Bergdahl’s release on Tuesday, June 3rd. In his comments, the president admitted the Taliban prisoner swap could result in further terrorism. A number of high-profile Republicans have criticized the deal, which called for five known terrorists to be set free from Guantanamo Bay in return for the release of suspected deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “Is there a possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely,” Obama said at news conference in Warsaw Tuesday “That’s been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.” The president also mentioned that the U.S. would be “keeping eyes on them.” However, an anonymous Qatari official spoke to Reuters today, saying the released Taliban had already moved into a residential compound in Doha, and could “move around freely” within Qatar.