Friday, December 25, 2009

Afghan Taliban Release New Video of American Soldier & Prisoner Bowe Bergdahl on Christmas

The Afghan Taliban's media outlet, Al-Emarah [The Emirate] Jihadic Studio (sic), has released a second video of Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, 23, a United States soldier from the First Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment's Fourth Combat Team (part of the 25th Infantry Division). He was captured on July 3 and was featured in a Taliban video released in late July (I wrote about this video in a PREVIOUS POST).

The release of the second video has been teased on web forums used by jihadi-Salafis for the past week. Its release on Christmas Day seems to be a strategic decision in order to increase its symbolic power.

The new video begins with a narration detailing the ongoing U.S. and NATO military campaign against the growing Taliban-led insurgency before transitioning into a videotaped portion of Bergdahl. As he did in the first video, Bergdahl says that he has been well treated as a prisoner of war, unlike "Muslim prisoners" have been treated by the U.S. government and military at places such as Abu Ghrayb and Guantanamo Bay. The narrator also says that the Taliban are treating Bergdahl well because of the requirements of Islam.

He also once again urges an end to the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, saying that the conflict may become the "next Vietnam" if it does not end. Bergdahl says that the Taliban and other Pashtun groups allied to it, such as the groups commanded by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, are an "organized guerrilla army." He also discusses the long history of Afghans' resistance against foreign occupation. The claims of the U.S. government and military frequently made about the Taliban and other Pashtun insurgents, namely that they are mindless "terrorists," is also dismissed. U.S. and NATO casualties have also been artificially deflated, says Bergdahl.

In the middle of Bergdahl's statement, video quotes from former U.S. military personnel who are opposed to U.S. president Barack Obama's recent Afghanistan "surge" are shown.

Video of IED attacks is also shown. In the last several minutes of the video, Bergdahl reiterates that the Taliban are treating him well, saying that he is allowed to exercise and is well fed. He says that the Taliban are treating him as a prisoner the way "their God" tells them to treat prisoners. He tells his family not to worry about him, saying that he's "safe."

The better treatment of prisoners by the Taliban than by the U.S. was a theme of the first video as well. Photographs of humiliated prisoners held by the U.S. military closes the video. The Taliban's well thought-out media strategy with this video contrasts starkly with the shortsightedness of groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq, which has released many videos of its members executing prisoners (particularly Iraqi government personnel, who it considers to be apostates).

A prisoner exchange is suggested, Pvt. Bergdahl for captured Taliban insurgents. The U.S. government and NATO have, as expected, condemned the video and its release on Christmas.

The new video featuring Pvt. Bergdahl is embedded below in the interest of allowing Occident's readers to view it for themselves rather than rely on often lackluster coverage in the mainstream media, particularly in the United States. It should not be taken as an endorsement of the Taliban's media strategy, which is in violation of the Geneva Accords and the generally agreed-upon rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war. All instances of such abuse are condemned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just as bad as the Americans who propagate news to their advantage. This video was completely onesided and untrue. Neither side has showed me justice for killing anyone and if its better to starp bombs to ones chest, then I dont feel they are justified either. A true believer in Isalm would not be starpping bombs to their chest.