Jul 20, 2009 0
Watching the video of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, held hostage by the Haqqani network, I was shocked to hear a man in the background speaking what appears to be British-accented English. The man asks Bergdahl (at 1:25), “Any message to your people?”
So who is this mystery man? Among the possibilities: a Pakistani or Afghan-born militant educated in Britain or an English-medium school in his home country; a Brit of Pakistani or Afghan descent; or a British convert to Islam.
My initial speculation was that the voice could be of Rashid Rauf, the British-Pakistani militant who was said to have been killed in a drone strike last year in North Waziristan. But Salman Masood of the New York Times, who met Rauf when the latter was on trial in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, tells me that it’s unlikely that the voice is Rauf’s.
Update: I’m viewing the full, 28-minute video and it’s clear that the person is an Afghan or a Pakistani Pashtun. His Pashto/Afghan accent slipped once or twice in the first few minutes of the full video, which was not apparent in the ABC News excerpt. The person, however, is fluent in English, and not an illiterate guy from the village. Could be an Afghan or Pakistani Pashtun who has lived in the UK.