His captivity under the Taliban dragged on for nearly five years.
But his release took only moments.
Dramatic video released by the Taliban on Wednesday shows captured U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl during his peaceful handover to U.S. special forces.
It happened in this barren valley near the Pakistan border on Saturday
Bergdahl’s release was negotiated between the U.S. and the Taliban under mediation from Qatar.
His freedom, for releasing five Taliban detainees held by the U.S. in Guantanamo, Cuba.
In the video, the 28-year-old appeared dazed.
Maybe by the light…maybe from anxiety over events unfolding around him.
A plane and helicopters circle overhead, as militants dot the hillside, armed with rocket launchers.
‘Next time you come back to Afghanistan,’ the Taliban tell him, ‘you won’t leave alive.’
As the Blackhawk helicopter lands, the militants shout “do not panic.”
At the moment of the exchange, a quick shaking of hands.
All eyes are trained on each other.
The tension is clear.
The Taliban narrator in the video says the U.S. special forces were “in a rush” and didn’t greet them properly.
Bergdahl gets a quick body search before he’s helped into the Blackhawk.
From touchdown to take off, the operation was over in just a minute.
U.S. officials would later say that Bergdahl broke down in tears, when he learned inside that helicopter as it flew off, that he was now a free man.
Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after leaving his base under circumstances that are still unclear.
He’s now in a U.S. military hospital in Germany, getting treatment and undergoing mental assessments.
June 4 – Dramatic video released by the Taliban shows a dazed Bowe Bergdahl during the moment of his handover to U.S. special operations forces in eastern Afghanistan, ending his five years in captivity. Mana Rabiee reports. ( Transcript )