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Captive G.I. on Video by Taliban

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

19soldier.650.jpg

July 19, 2009


WASHINGTON (AP) — The American soldier who disappeared June 30 in eastern Afghanistan, and was later confirmed to have been captured, appears on a video posted Saturday to a Web site by the Taliban, two United States defense officials said.

The soldier is shown in the 28-minute video with his head shaved and the start of a beard. He is sitting, wearing a nondescript gray outfit. When one of his captors holds the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera, the name and ID number are visible.

The soldier, whose identity the Pentagon has not yet released, says his name, age and hometown on the video. American defense officials confirmed that the man in the video is the captured soldier.

The soldier says the date is July 14. He says he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol.

Interviewed in English by his captors, he is asked about his views on the war, which he calls extremely hard; his desire to learn more about Islam; and the morale of American soldiers, which he says is low.

Asked how he is doing, the soldier says: "Well, I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner."

He begins to answer questions in a matter-of-fact voice. He later chokes up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

"I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America," he says. "And I miss them every day when I’m gone."

Prompted by his interrogators to give a message to the American people, he says in part: "Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country."

The video is not a continuous recording — it appears to stop and start during the questioning.

On Saturday, the American military spokesman in Afghanistan, Col. Greg Julian, said in Kabul that the United States was "still doing everything we can to return him safely."





:: Article nr. 56146 sent on 19-jul-2009 13:30 ECT

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Link: www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/world/asia/19taliban.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=print



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