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Bergdahl Tried to Escape from Taliban Captors

From the COLLECTION: 10 years of Bowe Bergdahl Stories series

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This image provided by IntelCenter Wednesday Dec. 8, 2010, shows a framegrab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American serviceman being held in captivity in Afghanistan.

TWIN FALLS • Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made a bold escape from his Taliban captors while imprisoned in Pakistan, avoiding them for three days before they recaptured him, according to a report published by The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

The news website's account - compiled by two correspondents for Newsweek, which the site is affiliated with - offers a window into the Hailey soldier's life of captivity in the hands of the Taliban.

The story is hard to corroborate - even that Bergdahl was confirmed still alive was news to U.S. Central Command, accord to The Daily Beast. But the website appeared confident in its report, based on interviews with "three reliable militant sources" who heard the details from fighters present when Bergdahl made the escape attempt.

Bergdahl, 25, has been a prisoner of the Taliban since his capture on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan. Since then, he has appeared in at least five Taliban propaganda videos, one of which was released in May. He is the only known U.S. soldier to be a captive of the Taliban.

The Daily Beast reports that Bergdahl made his escape in late August or early September, after several months when his jailers became more trusting of him. He reportedly jumped from a first-floor window of a mud-brick house in Pakistan where he was held, and went into underbrush and forested mountains.

His captors found him three days later hiding in a trench, covered with leaves, according to the report. The sources described Bergdahl fighting "like a boxer" when found.

Quoting a Taliban source, The Daily Beast reported that Bergdahl told his captors that he wanted to find civilian villagers who would help him and notify the U.S. But that hope proved futile as villagers had long since fled the region because of the conflict.

Col. Tim Marsano, an Idaho National Guard spokesman based in Boise, was quoted in the report and has spoken with Bergdahl's family.

"There is certainly a lot of new information in that article that was news to the Bergdahl family," he told the Times-News on Wednesday. "... Any mother would be glad to hear that her son is alive and well at this point."

Ben Botkin may be reached at 735-3238.


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