U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl's release to American forces in eastern Afghanistan was captured on a new video posted online by the Taliban. (Via U.S. Army)
Insurgents and U.S. troops can be seen waving to each other as Bergdahl is loaded onto an American blackhawk helicopter. It all looks very cordial. (Via The Telegraph / Taliban video)
That is, until you notice U.S. aircraft circling overhead to look for any signs of trouble — and the armed Taliban militants watching closely nearby.
What began as an overwhelmingly positive story of a soldier homecoming for Bergdahl has turned into a political mess in just a few short days. The biggest questions here center on the legality of the White House's decision to swap Taliban prisoners and on Bergdahl's loyalty to his home nation.
And those questions have come not just from pundits but from the soldiers who served with Bergdahl:
JAKE TAPPER: "He said, 'Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.'" (Via CNN)
In conservative media circles, there's also growing suspicion toward Bergdahl's father. And then there's that deleted tweet from Robert Bergdahl, posted just days before his son's release and promising to work toward freeing all Guantanamo prisoners. (Via Fox News, Twitter / @slone)
The senior Bergdahl has even been criticized for looking too much like a member of the Taliban, though, as some pundits and comedians point out, that doesn't necessarily mean anything sinister. (Via The White House)
JON STEWART: "My guess is if you gave Bob Bergdahl a bandana and a duck, you'd like him just f------ fine." (Via Comedy Central)
The Pentagon has said it's reviewing the Taliban video of Bergdahl's release to prove its authenticity, though they have no reason to doubt it. The five Taliban prisoners released by the U.S. will be held in Qatar for the next year.