UK & World News

  • 11 July 2014, 3:07

Photo Shows 'Bergdahl And Militant Smiling'

An extremist Twitter account has published a photo which appears to show a smiling Bowe Bergdahl in the company of an Islamist militant.

The unverified image purports to show a grinningBadruddin Haqqaniwith his arm round the former US prisoner of war.

Analysts say the undated photo would have been taken sometime between Sgt Bergdahl'scapture by the Talibanfive years agoandHaqqani's death in a suspected US drone strike in August 2012.

The picture was identified by the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), a WashingtonDC-based think tank.

It was published on the account @khorasan313, which Memri said is associated with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,as the Taliban call their regime.

The tweet accompanying the photo read: "#Exclusive #US soldier #Bergdahl with Martyr #Taliban Leader Badar'udin Haqqani (RH) S/O Shaykh Jalaludin Haqqani (HA)."

According to Memri, Arabic writing superimposed over the image translates as "soldiers of the Haqqani".

The same accounttweeted hours earlier: "Bowe #Bergdahl was really impressed when he saw the hospitality of #Taliban He first thought that he will be tortured But he was wrong".

It also said that SgtBergdahlonce tried to escape when the Taliban took him to a local market.

The account tweeted: "& then he was captured again by #Taliban This time he was seriously expecting #WaterBoarding Electric Shocks & Other Tortures But No".

Badruddin Haqqani was the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqaniinsurgentnetwork.

Affiliated with both the Taliban and al Qaeda, the group operates on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Sgt Bergdahl, now 28, has been receiving care at Army facilities in Texas since his return to the US last month.

The Idaho nativehas recently been allowed to venture off base under supervision, sometimes in civilian clothes and sometimes in military uniform, according to reports.

Sgt Bergdahlwas freed by the Talibanon May 31 in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On Thursday it emerged that top US military leaders unanimously backed the Obama administration's prisoner swap, which was sharply criticised by Republicans.

SgtBergdahldisappeared from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.