Real-world prisoner trades don’t look much like their Hollywood counterparts. There’s no brandishing of guns, little shouting, no rash, last-minute moves. A video released Wednesday shows the uneventful handoff of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. forces.
The full video, embedded below, begins with Taliban forces waiting around for the Americans. Bergdahl is visible, sitting in the back of a pickup truck. A Talib speaks with and gesticulates at him. A graphic flashes: “Don’t come back to Afghanistan.” Eventually a Blackhawk helicopter comes into view. Then greetings, a quick pat-down of Bergdahl and off the chopper goes.
(If you don’t want to sit through the entire video, the prisoner exchange begins at 6:22.)
Bergdahl walks himself to the helicopter but the true state of his health — something the Obama administration cited as a major factor in its decision to make the swap — is impossible to know from just watching the video.
The video’s most incongruous scene comes when U.S. special forces wave to their Taliban counterparts:
And if the Taliban’s message in releasing the video wasn’t apparent, they have a helpful graphic: