WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Wednesday condemned the release of a video showing a U.S. soldier who was captured in Afghanistan and is believed to have been held by Taliban militants for the last 18 months.
“As we have said in the past ... we deplore the fact that Taliban is using him in that way, in releasing footage. But we do continue efforts to try to recover Specialist Bergdahl,” said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.
The June 2009 capture of Bowe Bergdahl, a national guardsman from Idaho, triggered a massive manhunt in Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are seeking to reverse a surge in violence more than nine years after Western forces ousted the Taliban.
Lapan said it was uncertain when the footage of Bergdahl, who was 23 when he was captured, had been filmed or whether the soldier was being held in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The Haqqani Network, a group allied with the Afghan Taliban, released the video showing Bergdahl dressed in local garb and standing near a Taliban commander, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group. The video was also carried by news media.
It is not the first video to appear of Bergdahl, who has been seen in past videos denouncing the war. In the past he was seen wearing a military uniform.
Reporting by Missy Ryan; editing by Eric Beech