Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. military has obtained a video proving that a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan missing since 2009 and believed kidnapped by the Taliban is still alive.
The video was found in a thumb drive intercepted by the U.S. last week and has a reference to Dec. 14, 2013, reports quoted U.S. officials as saying on Wednesday. It shows Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as frail and making a reference to the recent death of former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, the officials added.
The last video showing Bergdahl in captivity was released by his captors more than three years ago. The latest video raised hopes for his family, who issued a statement repeating calls for his release and urged Bergdahl to remain strong.
Aside from the video, Bergdahl’s family received a letter from him in June via Red Cross.
A Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday the agency continues to work toward Bergdahl’s safe and immediate release from the hands of Haqqani militants in Pakistan.
Bergdahl was 23 when he was last seen walking away from a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan after finishing guarding duty on June 29, 2009. He failed to show up for the morning roll call and colleagues initially thought he deserted.
A native of Wood Valley, Idaho, Bergdahl joined the U.S. Army in 2008, was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska, and later deployed to Pakita Province, Afghanistan as a machine gunner, according to NBC News.