Jani and Robert Bergdahl, parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, stand in front of the Big Mood River in Hailey, on May 11. Bowe Bergdahl is America's only known current prisoner of war, and last week his family announced that he was part of secret but stalled prisoner exchange negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban. BILL SCHAEFER / THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sergeant Bowe Robert Bergdahl, United States Army
BORN: March 28, 1986 (1986-03-28) Sun Valley, Idaho
Military status and disappearance
Bergdahl is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He went missing on June 30, 2009. Since then, the Taliban has released five videos showing him in captivity. The Taliban have demanded $1 million and the release of 21 Afghan prisoners and Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for Bergdahl’s release. They have threatened to execute Bergdahl if Siddiqui is not released. Most of the Afghan prisoners are being held at Guantanamo Bay.
At the time of his capture, Bergdahl’s rank was that of Private First Class (E-3). In June 2010, he was promoted to Specialist (E-4) during his absence. On June 17, 2011 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (E-5) 
On July 18, 2009, the Taliban released a video showing they had captured Bergdahl. In the video, Bergdahl appeared downcast and frightened. A Department of Defense statement issued on July 19 confirmed that Bergdahl was declared “missing/whereabouts unknown” on July 1, and his status was changed to “missing/captured” on July 3.
Accounts of his capture differ. The version offered by Bergdahl, in the video, is that he was captured when he fell behind on a patrol. CNN, in its report, cites both Taliban and U.S. military sources, the former (Taliban) alleging he was ambushed after becoming drunk off base, and the latter (U.S. military) denying that claim stating: “The Taliban are known for lying and what they are claiming (is) not true.”
A Department of Defense spokesperson, Lieutenant Commander Christine Sidenstricker, said, “I’m glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video. They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.”
According to the Associated Press, General Nabi Mullakheil of the Afghan National Police said the capture occurred in Paktika Province. Their other sources inform them that he was captured by a Taliban group led by Maulvi Sangin, who has moved him to Ghazni Province. The Guardian quoted sources who speculated about the increased difficulty of a rescue mission if Bergdahl had been smuggled across the nearby border into Pakistan.
The Associated Press also quoted Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, as saying: “the militants holding the soldier haven’t yet set any conditions for his release.”
CNN described two Pashto-language leaflets the U.S. military was distributing in seeking Bergdahl. One showed a smiling GI shaking hands with Afghan children, with a caption that called him a guest in Afghanistan. The other showed a door being broken down, and threatened that those holding Bergdahl would be hunted down.
In December 2009, five months after Bergdahl’s disappearance, the media arm of the Afghan Taliban announced the release of a new video of “a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan,” titled “One of Their People Testified.” In the announcement the Taliban did not name the American, but the only U.S. soldier known to be in captivity is Bergdahl.
U.S. military officials have been searching for Bergdahl, but it is not publicly known whether he is even being held in Afghanistan or in neighboring Pakistan, an area off-limits to U.S. forces based in Afghanistan.
On December 25, another video was released that features Bergdahl in a combat uniform and helmet. He describes his place of birth, deployment to Afghanistan and subsequent capture. He then makes several statements regarding his humane treatment by his captors, contrasting this to the abuses suffered by insurgents in prisons. He finishes by saying that America should not be in Afghanistan and that it is just another Vietnam.
In November 2010, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fourth video.
In May 2011, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fifth video.
Threat of reprisal
On February 4, 2010, the Afghan Taliban demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist who was convicted by a U.S. court on charges of attempting to murder U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and threatened to execute Bergdahl if their demand was not met. The Taliban claimed that members of Siddiqui’s family had requested their assistance.
Reports of joining the Taliban
Fox News reported that the Taliban and Afghanistan Intelligence indicated that Bergdahl was helping to train the Taliban in bomb making and infantry tactics. The Pentagon dismissed the reports as Taliban propaganda.
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