- Bowe Bergdahl appears without beard despite captors' claim he has converted to Islam
New pictures of a U.S. soldier who has been held in captivity in Afghanistan for 18 months have been released today.
Private Bowe Bergdahl, 24, has converted to Islam and adopted the Muslim name Abdullah, according to his captors.
But he appeared without a beard in the latest footage and is seen with a quite significant wound on his left cheek.
The serviceman is looking thin but otherwise healthy alongside Taliban commander Maulawi Sangin who has previously threatened to kill him.
It remains unclear how when the video was shot or where he is being held.
|Thin but alive: Private Bowe Bergdahl next to Taliban commander Maulawi Sangin in a new image released today|
|In captivity: In this earlier released video he had grown a beard - but in the new footage it has gone|
Pte Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 while on duty in the eastern part of the country when he was aged 23 and is thought to be the only U.S. soldier in captivity.
Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Marsano confirmed the serviceman's family had seen the new video and said it was him.
The footage lasts for almost 45 minutes and Bergdahl can be seen wearing an open-necked tan shirt and has a significant wound just below his left eye.
But unlike in the three previous releases he is not the main subject of the video.
According to his captors the Private has reportedly given Taliban insurgents training in bomb-making and ambush skills.
Haji Nadeem, a Taliban deputy district commander in Paktika, claimed in August that Bergdahl is now a Muslim.
He said the soldier had shown him how to dismantle a mobile phone and turn it into a remote control for a roadside bomb - and had given him basic ambush training.
Nadeem said: 'Most of the skills he taught us we already knew.
'Some of my comrades think he's pretending to be a Muslim to save himself so they wouldn't behead him.'