A photograph posted to Twitter by a Taliban-linked Twitter account allegedly shows former American P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl smiling alongside a Taliban commander.
The photograph was first posted to Twitter on July 9 by @khorasan3, an account that the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) says is linked to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The picture is undated, and shows now-deceased militant commander Badruddin Haqqani resting an arm across Bergdahl’s back.
The photo, if authentic, must be at least two years old — Haqqani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2012. Haqqani was one of the senior leaders of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban subgroup that maintains close ties with al Qaeda.
Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in June 2009 after leaving his post in eastern Afghanistan. He was held in captivity until May 31 of this year, when he was released in a prisoner exchange that freed five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Taliban reportedly treated Bergdahl well during his time in captivity, viewing him as a valuable commodity. One Taliban commander, speaking anonymously to the AFP, mentioned how Bergdahl taught Taliban fighters to play badminton and invited them to celebrate Christmas and Easter with him.
Controversy has surrounded Bergdahl since his release. A former roommate has described Bergdahl as a deserter, and the prisoner swap became something of a political scandal for Obama and his administration.
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