Taliban releases video of captured GI

The army is not considering the latest video of a captured American soldier as "proof of life" because there are no clues as to when it was made.

But the family of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl sees the video as welcome news according to this piece in the New York Times by Alissa Rubin:

Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, 23, of Idaho, was captured in late June in Paktika Province, a rural, mountainous region along the Pakistani border where the Taliban have a large presence. The circumstances of his capture remain unclear. Initially, military officials said he had walked off his outpost in eastern Afghanistan. But in the first video, which the Taliban sent out in July, Private Bergdahl said he had been captured after he lagged behind during a patrol.

Private Bergdahl's family issued a statement urging his captors to release him, The Associated Press reported Friday. In the statement, which The A.P. said was disseminated by Lt. Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard, the family tells the missing soldier: "We love you and we believe in you. Stay strong."

Senior NATO officials called the release of the new video "a horrible act" and said the Taliban clearly timed it carefully.

"This is a horrible act which exploits a young soldier, who was clearly compelled to read a prepared statement," said Rear Adm. Gregg Smith of the United States Navy, NATO's chief of communications, in a statement e-mailed to reporters. "To release this video on Christmas Day is an affront to the deeply concerned family and friends of Bowe Bergdahl, demonstrating contempt for religious traditions and the teachings of Islam."

Bergdahl was forced to read some anti-American propaganda and from the Times account of the video, it wasn't even very original. Finding and freeing the young man will be a huge challenge given the terrain and the unlimited number of hiding places the Taliban could choose.

A few months ago , the British were able to free a journalist when they got a tip on where he was being held. They mounted a successful rescue operation, losing 4 men but freeing the journalist. Let's hope we can get similarly lucky.