A video released by the Taliban contains previously unseen footage of Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American serviceman being held in captivity in Afghanistan, but the brief clip was likely shot months ago and gives no new evidence of his present condition.
CBS News' Khaled Wassef first discovered the video, produced by a Taliban affiliated group, on Nov. 24, but a veteran CBS News terror consultant believes the clip of Bergdahl was filmed many months ago, close to the time of his capture in the summer of 2009.
The previously unseen video of Bergdahl lasts for only about four seconds, and shows him standing next to Taliban commander Mullah Sangeen Zadran, who has claimed responsibility for his capture and threatened to execute him.
Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009, when he disappeared in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan.
CBS News terrorism consultant Jere Van Dyke, who has spent years researching Islamic militancy along the Afghan-Pakistan border region, says the newly released video clip appears to have been shot very soon after, if not on the day of, Bergdahl's capture.
Van Dyke draws his conclusion based on both Bergdahl's condition in the video; he is visibly bruised on the face and appears exhausted and unwashed, and the setting.
The young American soldier appears with his apparent captor in a hilly, wooded area, in broad daylight. Van Dyke says there have been multiple indications that Bergdahl's captors want to convert him to Islam, and it is "impossible" that he would still be shaven. As to the setting, Van Dyke says American military surveillance drones patrol the area so regularly that filming Bergdahl outdoors, in the daylight, is highly unlikely this long after his capture.
The 44:44 minute video does not focus on Bergdahl. He appears in other clips from previously released videos in the new release, but Wassef says the most remarkable thing about the Nov. 24 video is a rare, relatively long clip containing a statement from senior Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, for whom Sangeen (Bergdahl's claimed captor) works. The video also shows militant attacks in Afghanistan.
The Taliban's motive for releasing the apparently old video of Bergdahl alongside Sangeen is unclear.
Bergdahl has appeared in three previous videos the Taliban released prior to this latest: on July 18, 2009; Dec. 25, 2009; and on April 7, 2010.
After the April 7 video of Bergdahl appeared on Taliban affiliated websites,that its release would only inspire further efforts to find the Army Specialist.
Van Dyke says, as far as U.S. intelligence officials know, the American captive remains with his kidnappers in Paktika province and is believed to be in good health. The U.S. government says it is continuing to work to secure Bergdahl's release, but will not give any specifics as to the nature of those efforts.
Two U.S. sailors were killed by Taliban militants in a separate abduction attempt in July. Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove both died soon after being ambushed in Logar Province, eastern Afghanistan.
KABUL, April 8, 2010