Taliban Video of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchange reveals several details about U.S. Army planes and choppers involved in the handover

The video of the Taliban handing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl over to the US military in Afghanistan reveals the presence of several assets, including some spooky King Air 300s.

Even if both parties had probably agreed almost every detail of the handover, the video of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being released by the Taliban shows that the U.S. military took some further measures to ensure that the meeting would not turn into an ambush.

Indeed, the footage shows that some minutes before the first U.S. Army MH-60 (probably belonging to the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment “Night Stalkers”) appeared, at least two King Air 300s (or quite similar U.S. Air Force MC-12Ws) were already circling nearby.

Needless to say, they were not there by accident.

MH-60 Taliban video

U.S. Army King Air 300s, known as MARSS, Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, perform ELINT (Electronic Intelligence), COMINT (Communication Intelligence), direction finding as well as Full Motion Video broadcasting to patrols on the ground.

These Army planes are particularly important for counter-IED operations during which they fly overwatch sorties along travel routes ahead of ground convoys to detect any suspect insurgent activity or side bomb sign.

MH-60 Taliban video ground

Their role in the handover scene was similar: they were monitoring the rendez-vous point, scanning the gestures of any Taliban in the valley to see if the meeting was actually an ambush to blow up the helicopter, possibly in front of the camera.

Even the U.S. individual who first meets Bergdahl seems to check his body for a suicide vest or something like that.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.