A U.S. military spokesman Monday denied claims that the only known American soldier in Taliban captivity was training insurgent fighters in bomb-making and ambush.
Private Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from an American military base in southeastern Afghanistan in June 2009. Last week, one of his captors was interviewed, shedding light on a case that baffled U.S. military officials.
A Taliban deputy district commander in Paktika province said the 24-year-old American had converted to Islam in the months after his capture. He said Bergdahl, from Idaho’s Sun Valley, had trained Taliban fighters in bomb-making and ambushing convoys.
“When I saw him for the second time, he had totally changed. He had a beard and he treated all of us very respectfully. He seemed very relaxed in our company. He was no longer scared,” said the commander, who called himself Haji Nadeem.
But U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col John Dorrian poured scorn on the claim, telling Fox News Channel: "The Taliban spokesmen are notorious for their puffery, and for exploiting captives through propaganda. We condemn his kidnapping and demand SPC Bergdahl's immediate release by his captors. The perpetrators responsible for SPC Bergdahl's abduction will be brought to justice if anything happens to him."
Afghan intelligence officials also believe Bergdahl is “cooperating with the Taliban” at one of its bases in the tribal area of Pakistan.
A senior official in Ghazni province, where Bergdahl was moved before being transferred to Pakistan, said intelligence suggested that the American had acted as an “adviser” to the rebels.
Three videos showing the American soldier in captivity have been released by the Taliban, including one on Christmas Day in which Bergdahl criticized American operations in Afghanistan.
Source: Fox News Channel