Politics

Watch: The Release Of Army Sgt. Bergdahl To U.S. Personnel (Video)

| by Jared Keever

Taliban members have released a video of the handover of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. personnel.

Bergdahl had been a prisoner of the Taliban since 2009 when he went missing from his military post in eastern Afghanistan. 

Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, confirmed with ABC News that U.S. officials were aware of the video.

"We have no reason to doubt the video's authenticity, but we are reviewing it,” Kirby said in a statement. “Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs.”

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The video, which was released to media outlets on Wednesday, opens with a clean shaven Bergdahl sitting in the back seat of a pickup truck. He is dressed in white clothes and has his head shaved. He is seen blinking repeatedly and looking towards the sky.

The video also shows numerous armed Taliban fighters standing near the truck and in the hills surrounding the exchange site. One has a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

According to Fox News, the narrator of the video says, "We told them there are 18 armed fighters and the Americans said that's all right.”

One of the Taliban members is seen talking to Bergdahl while he is still seated in the truck.

“Don't come back to Afghanistan,” the man says. “You won't make it out alive next time.”

A number of planes are seen circling the area. 

Shortly before the helicopter lands, a group of militants gather near the truck and raise their weapons in the air. 

"Long live Mujahedeen of Afghanistan, long live Mullah Omar, the leader of Taliban,” they shout, according to CNN

As the helicopter lands, two unarmed Taliban, one carrying a white flag, escort Bergdahl to a point halfway between the helicopter and the pickup truck. 

U.S. officials, dressed in civilian clothes, shake hands with the Taliban members, pat down Bergdahl and rush him back to the helicopter which immediately lifts off. 

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The circumstances surrounding the handover have raised questions among members of Congress. Many lawmakers believe the Obama administration should have notified Congress that Bergdahl was to be exchanged for the subsequent release of five Taliban prisoners being kept at Guantanamo Bay. 

Questions regarding Bergdahl’s initial disappearance have also surfaced in the wake of his return to U.S. custody. Many of the soldiers who were stationed with him in Afghanistan have come forward saying that he deserted by willingly walking away from his post only to disappear into the mountains.

Bergdahl is currently recovering at a military hospital in Germany.

Sources: ABC News, Fox News, CNN