Taliban video shows Bergdahl's release

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by POLO SANDOVAL

CNN

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 4:43 PM

A brief but intense Taliban video offers a glimpse into Saturday's release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl appears in simple garb, guarded by armed Taliban fighters, before the handover.

The choreographed exchange happens under a white flag held by one of the captors.

The actual face to face between the Taliban and U.S. Special Forces lasted less than 10 seconds.

A Taliban narrator later dubbed over the footage. "We were given assurances by our leaders that nothing would take place, but we took our armed friends there only for the safety of ourselves," the narrator said. "You can never trust your enemy."

The unnamed narrator said the transfer occurred in eastern Afghanistan, and he described the moments as brief, but tense.

"We told them that once they arrive in the area we would be having a white flag," the narrator said. "When they landed, they were too afraid and worried that they shook hands only with two people and gave a left hand to a third one."

Moments like these, between liberators and captors, are highly secret and rarely recorded. Cedric Leighton, the former deputy director of training at the National Security Agency, said the situation could have turned deadly at any moment.

"The Taliban, of course, were ready with their weapons. They even had shoulder-fired missiles at the ready, just in case things went wrong from their standpoint," Leighton said. "It was a very tense, very dramatic moment."

Bergdahl remains at a medical facility in Germany, with questions surrounding how he was captured in the first place.

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