Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier captured more than four years ago
by militants in Afghanistan, has surfaced in a new video released by his captors.
Reuters reported that Bergdahl was stationed in the Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan
when he disappeared under unclear circumstances on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in Afghanistan.
"Today we learned that a new video of our son, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, has been distributed by his captors," Bergdahl's family said in a statement on Wednesday via the Idaho National Guard.
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"As we have done so many times over the past four and a half years, we request his captors to release him safely so that our only son can be reunited with his mother and father," the family added.
U.S. officials believe the video was recorded within the last month and say Bergdahl appears to be in 'declining health,' but not gravely ill, according to Reuters.
Taliban-linked militants in Pakistan are believed to be currently holding Bergdahl.
The government's efforts to secure Bergdahl's release have thus far proven unsuccessful.
"Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been gone far too long, and we continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release," Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith told reporters.
According to Smith, the U.S. is using "military, intelligence and diplomatic tools" to ensure Bergdahl's safe return.
How the video was obtained by the U.S. government was not divulged by the Pentagon.
Hoping that their words would reach and encourage their only son, Bergdahl's parents released a statement directed to the soldier himself, saying: "BOWE - If you see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!"
The last video of Bergdahl was released in 2010, in which the soldier described himself as a "prisoner" and expressed his desire to go home.
"This war isn't worth the waste of human life that has cost both Afghanistan and the U.S. It's not worth the amount of lives that have been wasted in prisons, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram, all those places where we are keeping prisoners," Bergdahl said in the 2010 video, the Associated Press reported.
Bergdahl is the only U.S. service member being held by militants from the Afghan war.
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