Home » Wars » Afghan Update » Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget

by John Reed on April 10, 2012

No, this isn’t tech related but it’s damned interesting and important. Our sister site Line of Departure just posted this guest piece by Michael Yon detailing his efforts to determine the status of the only American POW in Taliban custody, Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl.

We’re publishing this here because its important not to forget about Bergdahl, captured while on a foot patrol in June 2009, as America starts thinking of how to leave Afghanistan.

Anyway, Yon’s post indicates that Berghdal may be in good health several months after he is rumored to have made an escape attempt.

Here’s an excerpt from Yon’s post.

Numerous times I have asked the Taliban to allow me to visit Bowe.  In each case, the Taliban have declined by citing security issues.

It has been said that I am negotiating with the Taliban for Bowe’s release.  This is untrue.  I have asked only to visit.  Nothing more.

This morning, I received two emails from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, a high-level Taliban spokesman in regard to Bowe Bergdahl:

===Begin Taliban message===

dont worry , we are not like Americans  who are doing to bad with their presnors in their preson , may be you remember or not the lady who was in our preson b4 and then she became muslim . it was because of good behaviour of our comanders . He is safe and have good health and sorry for this to say that we will invite you to see him becase of some security reasons .

But I asure you that he is happy and have good health . our holy prophet (Hazrat muhammad ) pbuh   teach us how to deal with presnors .  so once again dont worry abut him , and my reqards and about his health to his family .
be safe.

===End Taliban message===

Click here t0 read more.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Sgt_Buffy April 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

To think we're getting all excited over a new hull, or if the F-35 is worth it, and we forget what that technology is all about: Keeping guys like this safe. Who knows, maybe some day we'll have individual GPS dogtags or something to enable instant support in case of an attack. But sooner or (hopefully not) later, we'll get you back, Bergdahl, we'll get you back.Hang in there!


John Moore April 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

individual GPS dogtags –> not sure that would be the best idea going forward.

The enemy if tech enough could use this to pin point every soldier.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

"GPS dogtag" would be a bit of a misnomer. GPS is just the constellation of satellites and the receiver that determines position fix. A transmitter would require an antenna element and batteries, which might not fit on a dog tag.

Unless you're proposing putting a transmitter on a dog tag, which would suffer from short range and poor battery life.


Thunder350 April 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Wouldn't fit???

You know how small phones are, or even regular GPS devices are?


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm

A GPS receiver can be small, but how big do you want your transmitter to be? How much battery life do you want for that receiver, let alone a transmitter?

Besides, I've yet to see a phone or a "regular GPS device" the size of a dog tag.

tiger April 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

In less than 50 years we have gone from Stereo sets as big as a couch (at my grandma's house still), To a ipod. Hell, we mirco chip pets now. Anything is doable.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

A pet microchip is little more than an RFID chip that has to be read by a vet up close with a receiver in hand.

Not very useful for finding a hostage being led into the mountains. Or worst case scenario, if hostages are separated from their belongings. They may even do a video with the hostage and then burn their clothing and give them local robes, easier to hide a hostage when you can move then around in under a burqa in handcuffs on the back of a moped or a truck.

.... April 11, 2012 at 7:38 am

Well, true, but the idea is Maybe Someday we'll have SOMETHING that really enables us to use the full potential of our Army by enabling real-time cooperations.


ltfunk April 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

Its supposed to be about winning the war but as long as technology "is all about: Keeping guys like this safe" we will continue to lose wars.


Jayson April 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Since Pakistan is openly providing Taliban sanctuary, time to go in and get him with or without Pakistans say. We can't rely on them to do the job so well get the job done ourself.


dddd April 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

We don't know where he is, unfortunately.


John April 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Bergdahl didn't get captured. He walked.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

For reasons that are still unclear to us.


tiger April 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

He is a dumbass, but he's still our dumbass…..


majrod April 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

That should be a stand alone comment.


Colby April 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

This Taliban message looks like it was written by one of those guys that emails you from the Ugandan Oil Ministry and wants to give you $300 million if you give him access to your bank account.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

It may indicate that his captors are a kidnap gang. Bear in mind Afghans have low literacy rates…and that's in their native language. I'm a little surprised to see a message in broken English.

A message in good English would indicate he is being held by Al Qaeda folks with a message written by one of the few Western educated, english speaking operatives. It might also indicate being in Pakistan.

So he may be held in Afghanistan, by someone with some former contact with Americans…enough for rudimentary verbal English but perhaps not a good grasp of the written English language. Perhaps a kidnap gang with an ANA noncom, who needs to know enough Dari or Pashto to command a unit, and enough English to operate with American soldiers.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Apparently the email allegedly comes from this "spokesperson"…whose background isn't entirely clear. I would be in favor of the theory that they are using different people and an alias.


majrod April 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

The latest intel says he's in Pakistan.


Lance April 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Hope the Delta Force will rescue him and kill his captors asap!


majrod April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Who' the writer? "Captured while on foot patrol"?

I accept that kind of inaccuracy from the average reporter not familiar with military matters. Berghdahl left the base on his own, without his body armor or weapon. What kind of foot patrol is that?

That kind of reporting really helps the credibility of "DT"!

I hope we rescue Bergdahl. I also hope we get better reviews of these stories.


Tiger April 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Today is another Date we should not forget. 49 years ago today we Lost USS Thresher with all hands.

On April 10, 1963, the USS Thresher, the lead ship of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, was conducting sea trials off the coast of New England with another ship, the USS Skylark (ASR-20). The two ships were in communication by means of underwater sound telephone. At 0747 the USS Thresher started a deep dive. Everything was fine until 0913. At this time the USS Thresher sent this message. “We are experiencing minor difficulties, we have a positive up angle, and are attempting to blow. Will keep you informed”. At 0916 & 0917 respectively, the USS Skylark received two garbled messages followed shortly by SONAR detection of a high energy, low frequency disturbance. This disturbance was the crushing of the USS Thresher as it had fallen below crush depth. One hundred twenty nine men had perished, including crew members, PNSY Officer Observers, PNSY civilian workers and contractor technicians.

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, @ 1300, USSVI Thresher Base will host the 49th Annual USS Thresher Memorial

honoring the 108 Crew Members, 4 US Naval Submarine Officer Observers, and 17 Civilian Support Personnel lost

aboard the submarine USS Thresher during sea trials off of the New England coast 49 years ago on April 10, 1963.

The service will be held at the R.W. Traip Academy located at at 12 Williams Avenue, Kittery, Maine.


Sgt_Buffy April 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

Sadly, I can only +1 this for the thought. Thanks for the reminder.


John Doe April 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

People are still wondering why the Army hasn’t expended that much in resources to get him back? It might be that the truth is sadder then people know. I was based out of FOB Airborne in the Wardak Provence when this kid vanished in 2009, we had a lot of our soldiers directly involved in the initial search for him. When all was said and done and the investigation finished up it was determined that the now SGT had been drinking and smoking marijuana on a regular bases. He left the wire after a heavy night of drinking and gets hazy from there. They do know the terp that he left the wire with sold him out to a local group who then sold him to the Taliban (which is why he’s still alive as opposed to soldiers captured in Iraq). There has never been question in that he left on his on will. The question was he either trying to ‘defect’ or just go AWOL or was he trying to go party with the terp and maybe score some Afghan Chick. Strange as it is the reports pointed more to the soldier going AWOL and then getting into way more then he expected.

This explains why the Army hasn’t put out a lot of effort. The soldier basically did this to himself and he can only blame himself for being capture as oppose to being forced to surrender and being captured in a firefight.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Huh, didn't know that.

Not sure if people want to hear that if "no man left behind" has caveats attached to it.


majrod April 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Entertaining to say the least that you believe everything you read on the internet. Bergdahl was moved to Pakistan shortly after his capture. How many years did it take us to get Bin Laden and he wasn't in solitary confinement not communicating. The search was massive.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm

If someone on the internet says to not believe anything you read on the internet…

It's like that old "I am lying…am I telling the truth?" statement.


majrod April 11, 2012 at 3:13 am

You're brilliant. Anything else you don't know?

Making quips about "no man left behind" reflects well on you. When/Where did you serve?

Mike April 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm

If this is true, and it was a trip to get laid gone bad, then my old Chief Petty Officer was right, after all: "Pu**y's and so is honey, F**k your fist and save your money."


Jack Luz April 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

The Taliban clearly do not know how to spell the word "prisoner".


Guest April 11, 2012 at 12:13 am

You have amazing powers of perception, Sherlock.


Reality April 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Wonder how performances of Bachi Boy Bowe there have been?


John June 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Yea, 'cause the Taliban are really nice and good dudes, right? Smoke some more dope, bud, I got a spiffy new bridge to sell you. The fact is our ideologies are not compatible. We want freedom, they want slavery. It really is that simple. Anybody that tries to impose a religious system of laws is an enemy of mine. Freedom matters in everything, especially religion. Saving our Souls is not a valid reason to kill us.


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tiger April 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm

My point was that ability to make a tracking device like Eperb for ships is doable. Just need to make it that small.


blight_ April 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

It's possible to make /a/ tracking device, but under the constraints of making it man-portable, let alone concealable and operable at long ranges with long battery life it calls for a great degree of technological sophistication.

For range, you compromise on size and battery life. For size, you compromise battery life and range. For battery life, you compromise range and size.


Sgt_Buffy April 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

I was only stating that Someday, we'll have something to enable tracking of our soldiers, I don't know how or when, but something like a mini-GPS might do the trick. I don't know, it just seems sad to lose somebody because we don't know where he is.


passingby April 12, 2012 at 9:03 am

LOL. Someday, you'll have chips in every citizen of the US and the govt will be able to track and control everyone … thanks to brainless morons who would readily adopt "solutions" that are FAR WORSE than the "problem" they are supposed to solve.

Reminds of what Kissinger once said about those in the military.


blight_ April 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

True. Our lassiez-faire for the Middle East (except Saddam) should indicate that we are NOT in the Crusade business.

Like in Iraq, our enemy is divided between nationalists and the crazies who believe in global warfare against infidel/unbeliever/crusaders. The nationalist-types are the ones who went home quietly after the Soviets left, or went after the puppet government (and maybe went home after that?) or turned the guns on other Afghans. The crazies were likely going to stir things up one way or another.


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