Militants in Afghanistan have threatened to execute the American soldier they’ve held since June if the United States does not release the Pakistani scientist convicted this week of attempted murder, according to Arab news outlets.
The Afghan Taliban threatened to execute Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl if the U.S. does not release Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman convicted Wednesday by a New York federal jury of two counts of attempted murder against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, according to online reports coming out of Peshawar by PakTribune and Karachi News.
Bergdahl, 23, with 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, disappeared June 30. His disappearance set off an intense, weekslong manhunt that canceled or diverted other military missions and resources to search for him in southeast Afghanistan and along the border with Pakistan.
Officials suspect militants might be holding Bergdahl in Pakistan.
Accounts of his capture little more than seven months ago differ. When he first disappeared, military officials said he walked away from his base in Paktika province. In a video released by the Taliban in July, Bergdahl said he was captured after he fell behind while on patrol.
A U.S. military official in Kabul said Friday that the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan was unaware of the militants’ demand, and he referred all questions to the Pentagon.
PakTribune quoted a militant commander, who claims to be involved in the abduction, as saying that Bergdahl admitted to participating in several raids in Afghanistan, and “[s]ince he has confessed to all charges against him, our Islamic court had announced death sentence for him,” the news outlet quoted the Taliban leader.
The Taliban have released two videos, the most recent on Christmas Day depicting Bergdahl, in combat uniform, saying Americans should not be fighting in Afghanistan.