Captured US soldier's father pleads for son's release

By AFP
Published: May 7, 2011

File photo shows US soldier Robert Bergdahl who has been in the custody of the Taliban since June 2009. PHOTO: AFP.

WASHINGTON: The father of a US soldier captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan pleaded for his son’s captors to release him, and asked Pakistan to “diligently help,” in a video posted online Friday.

Robert Bergdahl, in a video uploaded to YouTube, said he “can remain silent no longer” about the plight of his 25-year-old son, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in June 2009.

Appearing in a dark shirt and bushy long beard, Robert Bergdahl addressed leaders of the Pakistani armed forces, the Taliban, and the Haqqani militants, in comments coming just a few days after a covert US mission inside Pakistan killed Osama bin Laden.

“We give our condolences and thanks to those who have fallen for Pakistan,” he said to Pakistani military leaders.

“Strangely to some, we must also thank those who have cared for our son for almost two years,” he added, addressing the Taliban and Haqqanis.

“We know our son is a prisoner and at the same time a guest in your home. We understand the rationale the Islamic Emirate has made through its videos,” he said, referring to the formal name of the Taliban government in Afghanistan before the 2001 US-led invasion.

“No family in the United States understands the detainee issue like ours. Our son’s safe return will only heighten public awareness of this.

“That said, our son is being exploited. It’s past time for Bowe and the others to come home,” he said.

Mountains are seen in the background of Robert Bergdahl video, in which he utters several Arabic phrases, including a common greeting that translates to “peace be upon you.”

A resident of the western US state of Idaho, Bergdahl asks that Pakistan “diligently help our son be freed from his captivity.”

The Taliban released video footage in July 2009 in which Bowe Bergdahl said he had been captured when he lagged behind his patrol.

The father requested that his son be allowed to view the video, and waved to him in anticipation.

“We love you. We have been quiet in public, but we haven’t been quiet behind the scenes. Continue to be patient and kind to those around you. You are not forgotten,” he said.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Shahid
    May 7, 2011 - 2:11PM

    One must try for his release but Pakistan should stay out of it. Doing a good deed would become painful once he is released as Pakistan then would be blamed for complicity and involved in his kidnapping. Let CIA and Karzai get the job done. They have more clout and more competent than Pakistan, Right???? Pakistan should not volunteer nor it should take interest. US forces and CIA, and of course the more trust worthy Indians should do what is necessary.Leave incompetent Pakistan alone. Recommend

  • khan
    May 7, 2011 - 2:53PM

    my sympathies are with the ld father. these wars, they cost lotRecommend

  • Realist
    May 7, 2011 - 3:30PM

    @ Khan

    Why? Just because he appeared on TV? What about the Taliban and other freedom fighters being held by NATO in Afghanistan?Recommend

  • Narayana Murthy
    May 7, 2011 - 3:43PM

    I don’t feel sorry for the soldier. When you sign up, you know this could happen. Comes with the job.

    After Osama’s death, you’re asking for his release sir…?Recommend

  • May 7, 2011 - 3:54PM

    Remember Aaafia Siddique?Recommend

  • NOOR
    May 7, 2011 - 4:01PM

    It reminded me Daniel Pearl. Hope that nothing will happen with him like this guy. Recommend

  • Waqas
    May 7, 2011 - 4:10PM

    US navy seals 20… where are they?Recommend

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    May 7, 2011 - 4:40PM

    “The Quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven on the place beneath…it blesseth him that gives and him that takes…it is an attribute to God Himself.”

    Shakespeare could have been said to have borrowed from the infinite mercy of God concept in Islam, when he put these words into the mouth of Portia in his play Merchant of Venice. Pakistan should do no doubt all it can for the release of the soldier.Recommend

  • Nation Prevails
    May 7, 2011 - 5:04PM

    I’m quite sure Taliban will be taking a good care of him do u guys remember journalist from america, she was so impressed by taliban’s hospitality when she was taken hostage and after release she accepted Islam.Recommend

  • Mahmood
    May 7, 2011 - 7:12PM

    Since OBL was living inside Pakisan perhaps the parents believe that the Taliban are keeping him inside Pakistan. If so – the Pakistani govt should help.Recommend

  • Khalid Javed
    May 7, 2011 - 7:24PM

    How U could forget all those captured by US including Men, Women , Young and old? Are they not siblings of their parents? Are they not human beings? POWs need exchange…. is this rationale not known to U arrogant American Imperialists? Now the pain of being away from son is too overpowering and unbearable?Recommend

  • guest-worker
    May 7, 2011 - 7:25PM

    I am sorry for the father of the soldier but he apparently choose the wrong day to ask for help. There are already other rumors about death in the chopper that crashed. and the town being under curfew at 8pm to sunriseRecommend

  • Peace On Earth
    May 7, 2011 - 7:27PM

    Some of these comments come as know surprise to me given how ignorant and stupid some Pakistanis are. If you think that the Taliban is a group of freedom fighters, despite the fact that they have killed many Pakistanis, then why don’t you leave Pakistan and move in with them?

    My sympathies are with the solider and his family and I pray that he returns safe and sound from the hands of these evil men. May GOD give him the strength to overcome his dilemma.Recommend

  • Umar
    May 7, 2011 - 7:36PM

    We can do it our way and extend our hands of sympathy to a father who lost his son. Or we can do the American way which we believe is morally wrong. Let’s support his request and pray for those Pakistani’s who are still missing. Recommend

  • Cody
    May 7, 2011 - 7:40PM

    Bergdahl’s situation is exactly why I retired from the Army, in disgust. He’s another fine example of how the Army does not take care of it’s own. The Army has access to all of the intel that was given to “Seal Team 6″.
    Hey Army, why not live up to the creed you make soldiers recite every day?
    You can make excuses for failure or you can be the reason for success. What is it Army? Recommend

  • MAS
    May 7, 2011 - 8:43PM

    i have a gut feeling that the job is done by the Indian R.A.W agents to malign Pakistan. US should also ponder over this. Recommend

  • ARF
    May 8, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Why shud we help? Just so that we can then again be labelled as knowing where he was kept captive but didnt help out earlier. What about all our civilians being killed in the drone attacks? Wat about all our soldiers killed and the price Pakistan has paid for this so called war on terrorism. Give us back our people then our army can help out. Obviously this cant be done so there lies the answer. Go ask your oh so powerful U.S. forces to help out. Where are they when their own troops need help. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    May 8, 2011 - 7:53PM

    Had Americans fought without propaganda they may have lost the war but they would have certainly won the eternal world!!!Recommend

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