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Dramatic video shows release of US soldier

A DAZED US soldier has been shown being led by two militants, one carrying a makeshift white flag on a stick, to a Blackhawk helicopter in eastern Afghanistan ending his five years in captivity in a video released by the Taliban.

In the first publicly aired footage of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl's dramatic handover to the US military at the weekend, the clip shows Taliban cadres dotted on nearby hills armed with rocket launchers watching the transfer.

The operation, from the moment the helicopter touched the ground amid a cloud of dust to take-off, was all over in a minute.

"Do not panic," the ­militants shout as the ­Blackhawk lands in the barren valley deep in Khost province, close to the border with Pakistan.

Sgt Bergdahl was released on Saturday in exchange for five senior insurgent leaders, who had been held in a US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since it opened in 2002.

Before his rescue, Sgt Bergdahl is seen sitting in the rear seat of a four-wheel-drive truck, blinking rapidly, apparently either dazed by the light or anxious about the events unfolding around him.

A plane and helicopters are seen circling overhead as fighters chant "long live our mujahideen" and "long live the spiritual leader", referring to the Taliban's reclusive Mullah Mohammad Omar.

As the Blackhawk lands, two of the militants approach the helicopter, one carrying a white cloth crudely tied to a stick and the other leading Sgt Bergdahl by the hand.

Three men walk from the American chopper. One is an interpreter, the Taliban's reporter says in the clip.

One of Bergdahl's escorts has his faced covered by a checkered scarf and in the cloud of dust thrown up by the Blackhawk, the tension is clear.

Soldiers dressed in military fatigue stand by the helicopter observing the handover.

The video starts to play a Taliban victory song and the message in English flashes up: "Don't come back to Afghanistan".

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