On Wednesday the Taliban released a video that allegedly shows them handing over the American hostage they’ve held for nearly five years to U.S. special forces.
The 17-minute long video shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with his head and eyebrows completely shaved while wearing white robes, then being led from a pickup truck to what appears to be an America Black Hawk helicopter.
Armed Taliban fighters are see waving a white flag as the helicopter lands, then men who appear to be Americans are seen shaking hands with the militants before taking Bergdahl back to their ride.
Taliban militants are seen scattered around the hillside looking on as the handover takes place, while one of the men is seen talking to Bergdahl as he sat in the truck.
According to translation, one of the fighters said to Bergdahl “Don’t come back to Afghanistan.” You won’t make it out alive next time,” as the others around him laugh.
The press secretary for the Pentagon, Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement that the video is being reviewed by authorities but they have no reason to believe it’s not authentic.
“Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs,” Kirby said Wednesday.
In the video Bergdahl appeared to be in decent health and didn’t seem to have any troubles walking. His semi-healthy appearance brings into question the narrative that the Obama administration has used to justify their action without Congress that Bergdahl faced life-threatening illness and they needed to move swiftly in order to save his life.
The exchange of five top-level Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl has been the center of controversy since Saturday when the deal took place. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have criticized the Obama administration for acting outside of the law as well as breaking America’s long-time policy of not negotiating with terrorist organizations.
It remains to be seen what, if any, action Congress will take against the President regarding the swap. However legal experts have said that by breaking the law that he signed just six months ago, Obama has made the case for his impeachment even stronger which could motivate lawmakers to move in that direction.