(NEW YORK)-- Looking gaunt and scared and with a cut on his face, Bowe Bergdahl appears in a newly-released Taliban video, a sign that the captive Army soldier is still alive, but that his nearly 18-month ordeal has taken a toll.
The 44-minute video, which was widely distributed on the web, shows a clean-shaven Bergdahl standing with the senior Taliban commander behind his capture near the Pakistani border in June 2009. Bergdahl is on-screen for about 15 seconds just over halfway through the video.
Mullah Sangin, a top commander in the al Qaeda-connected Haqqani group, is believed to have orchestrated the kidnapping of Bergdahl, and facilitated his movement from Afghanistan to the tribal areas of western Pakistan, where Bergdahl is believed to be held.
Bergdahl has appeared in a total of four Taliban videos since his capture, the first released in July 2009. Soon after Bergdahl's capture, Sangin threatened to kill him if the U.S. did not pull out of Afghanistan, but he had not previously appeared in a video with his captive.
Through a spokesman, Bergdahl's family has confirmed his identity via screen grabs of the video.
Bergdahl, 24, of Boise, Idaho, is the only U.S. serviceman captured since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001.
A private first class at the time of his capture, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska before deploying to Afghanistan. He was promoted to specialist while in captivity.
Bergdahl was lured from his post in eastern Afghanistan by several Afghan National Army soldiers on June 30th, 2009, and then taken by Taliban fighters in a nearby village, according to a senior Pentagon official.
Bergdahl was quickly moved to Pakistan, where he has been shuttled around several locations, primarily in northern Waziristan, the Pentagon official said.
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