An American soldier, who went missing on June 30 from his base in eastern Afghanistan and was later confirmed captured, has appeared on a video posted on a website by the Taliban, the Associated Press news agency says.
The soldier was shown in the 28-minute video on Saturday with his head shaved.
Two US defence officials confirmed to The Associated Press that the man in the video is the captured soldier.
The soldier, whose identity has not yet been released by the Pentagon pending notification of members of Congress and the soldier’s family, was shown as saying in the video that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol.
The US military said on July 2 that an American soldier had disappeared after walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts and was believed to have been taken prisoner.
A US defence official said the soldier was noticed missing during a routine check of the unit on June 30 and was first listed as “duty status whereabouts unknown”. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Details of such incidents are routinely held very tightly by the military as it works to retrieve a missing or captured soldier without giving away any information to captors.
But Nabi Mullakheil, a general in the Afghan police, said the soldier went missing in eastern Paktika province near the border with Pakistan from an American base. The region is known to have a strong Taliban presence.
Colonel Greg Julian, a US military official in Kabul, said on Saturday that the US was “still doing everything we can to return him safely”.
A number of civilians have been abducted in Afghanistan including aid workers and journalists, both foreigners and Afghans.
But the only other service member that officials could recall who had been captured was a Navy SEAL in March 2002, who fell out of a helicopter and was killed by al-Qaeda