Brief Narrative

Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl

Sergeant Bowe Robert Bergdahl, United States Army

BORN: March 28, 1986 (1986-03-28) Sun Valley, Idaho

Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army sealUNITED STATES ARMY
Rank US Army E-5.svg Sergeant (SGT)
Unit 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment (United States)”, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division (United States)” 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan (2001–present)” War in Afghanistan

Bowe Robert Bergdahl (born March 28, 1986 in Sun Valley, Idaho) is a soldier, who is currently in the captivity of the Taliban supporting Haqqani network, since June 2009.[1][2][3]

 Military status and disappearance

Bergdahl is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.[4] He went missing on June 30, 2009. Since then, the Taliban has released five videos showing him in captivity. The Taliban have demanded $1 million[5] and the release of 21 Afghan prisoners and Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for Bergdahl’s release. They have threatened to execute Bergdahl if Siddiqui is not released. Most of the Afghan prisoners are being held at Guantanamo Bay.[6][7]

At the time of his capture, Bergdahl’s rank was that of Private First Class (E-3). In June 2010, he was promoted to Specialist (E-4) during his absence.[8] On June 17, 2011 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (E-5) [9]


On July 18, 2009, the Taliban released a video showing they had captured Bergdahl.[1] In the video, Bergdahl appeared downcast and frightened. A Department of Defense statement issued on July 19 confirmed that Bergdahl was declared “missing/whereabouts unknown” on July 1, and his status was changed to “missing/captured” on July 3.[10]

In the 28-minute video his captors hold up his dog tags to establish the captured man is Bergdahl.[1] Bergdahl gives the date as July 14 and mentions an attack which occurred that day.[11][12][13]

Accounts of his capture differ. The version offered by Bergdahl, in the video, is that he was captured when he fell behind on a patrol.[1] CNN, in its report, cites both Taliban and U.S. military sources, the former (Taliban) alleging he was ambushed after becoming drunk off base, and the latter (U.S. military) denying that claim stating: “The Taliban are known for lying and what they are claiming (is) not true.”[3]

A Department of Defense spokesperson, Lieutenant Commander Christine Sidenstricker, said, “I’m glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video. They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.”[1][2]

According to the Associated Press, General Nabi Mullakheil of the Afghan National Police said the capture occurred in Paktika Province.[1] Their other sources inform them that he was captured by a Taliban group led by Maulvi Sangin, who has moved him to Ghazni Province. The Guardian quoted sources who speculated about the increased difficulty of a rescue mission if Bergdahl had been smuggled across the nearby border into Pakistan.[2]

The Associated Press also quoted Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, as saying: “the militants holding the soldier haven’t yet set any conditions for his release.”[1]

CNN described two Pashto-language leaflets the U.S. military was distributing in seeking Bergdahl.[3] One showed a smiling GI shaking hands with Afghan children, with a caption that called him a guest in Afghanistan. The other showed a door being broken down, and threatened that those holding Bergdahl would be hunted down.

In December 2009, five months after Bergdahl’s disappearance, the media arm of the Afghan Taliban announced the release of a new video of “a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan,” titled “One of Their People Testified.” In the announcement the Taliban did not name the American, but the only U.S. soldier known to be in captivity is Bergdahl.

U.S. military officials have been searching for Bergdahl, but it is not publicly known whether he is even being held in Afghanistan or in neighboring Pakistan, an area off-limits to U.S. forces based in Afghanistan.[14]

On December 25, another video was released that features Bergdahl in a combat uniform and helmet.[15][16] He describes his place of birth, deployment to Afghanistan and subsequent capture. He then makes several statements regarding his humane treatment by his captors, contrasting this to the abuses suffered by insurgents in prisons. He finishes by saying that America should not be in Afghanistan and that it is just another Vietnam.

On April 7, 2010, the Taliban released a third video of Bergdahl, now with a full head of hair and a beard, pleading for the release of Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo and Bagram.[17][18]

In November 2010, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fourth video.[19]

In May 2011, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fifth video.[20]

Threat of reprisal

On February 4, 2010, the Afghan Taliban demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist who was convicted by a U.S. court on charges of attempting to murder U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and threatened to execute Bergdahl if their demand was not met.[21][22] The Taliban claimed that members of Siddiqui’s family had requested their assistance.

 Reports of joining the Taliban

Fox News reported that the Taliban and Afghanistan Intelligence indicated that Bergdahl was helping to train the Taliban in bomb making and infantry tactics. The Pentagon dismissed the reports as Taliban propaganda.[23][24]

Wikinews has related news: Taliban publicize video of captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Pamela Hess, Lolita Baldur (July 19, 2009). “Bowe Bergdahl: Soldier Captured In Afghanistan Identified As 23-Year-Old Idahoan”. Huffington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Declan Walsh (July 19, 2009). “Taliban release video of captured US soldier”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c “U.S. soldier captured by Taliban: ‘I’m afraid'”. CNN. July 19, 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  4. ^ John Miller (July 19, 2009). “Soldier held in Afghanistan is 23-year-old Idahoan”. Associated Press. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ “Pakistan News Service”. PakTribune. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
  7. ^ Heintz, Jim; Amir Shah (December 25, 2009). “Family pleas for captive US soldier’s release”. USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ United States Department of Defense (July 19, 2009). “DoD Announces Soldier Status as Missing-Captured”. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  11. ^ Miller, John (July 19, 2009). “Pentagon IDs Soldier Held by Taliban”. CBS News. Associated Press. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  12. ^ Video: U.S. Soldier, Bowie Bergdahl, Captured By Taliban. CNN. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  13. ^ “U.S. soldier captured by Taliban: ‘I’m afraid'”. CNN. July 19, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  14. ^ Riechmann, Deb (December 16, 2009). “Terror monitor: Tape of captured US soldier due”. Associated Press. ABC News. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  15. ^ “VIDEO: Talibani objavili snimku zarobljenog vojnika (Video: Talibans publish a recording of captured soldier)” (in Croatian). December 25, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  16. ^ “Taliban video shows captive US soldier Bowe Bergdahl”. BBC News. December 25, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  17. ^ “American captured soldier Bowe Robert Bergdahl “Plea to his government””. YouTube. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
  18. ^ [4][dead link]
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ “Dad of Captive U.S. Soldier Makes Public Appeal to Pakistan”. Fox News. May 7, 2011.
  21. ^ Paktribune staff (February 5, 2010). “Taliban to execute US soldier if Aafia not released”. paktribune.
  22. ^ Mushtaq Yusufzai (February 5, 2010). “Taliban to execute US soldier if Aafia not released”. The News International. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. “The Afghan Taliban on Thursday demanded the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist who has been convicted by the US court on charges of her alleged attempt to murder US soldiers in Afghanistan, and threatened to execute an American soldier they were holding currently. They claimed Aafia Siddiqui’s family had approached the Taliban network through a Jirga of notables, seeking their assistance to put pressure on the U.S. to provide her justice.”
  23. ^ [6]
  24. ^ “Taliban: Captured Soldier Joined Cause”. Fox News. 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-22.