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Taliban claim they shot down US warplane in eastern Afghanistan
The Afghan Taliban claimed that their forces hit an US Air Force AC-130 gunship with antiaircraft fire and forced it to land in the eastern province of Logar.
The Taliban released a video purporting to show their forces hitting what appears to be a US Air Force C-130 aircraft. The AC-130 is a heavily armed ground attack variant of the C-130 airframe.
The video "was posted on the Facebook page of Bot Shikan on April 27, 2014, and was promoted on the Twitter account of an Afghan Taliban website representative on April 29," according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The video also bears the logo of El Emara [The Emirate], the media arm of the Afghan Taliban.
The video shows a group of Taliban fighters firing antiaircraft machine guns mounted on the backs of pickup trucks. The video then shows tracer rounds fired at what appears to be a C-130. Several rounds appear to hit the aircraft and bright flashes are seen underneath the plane. The video then shows what the Taliban claim is the wreckage of the aircraft as well as footage of the plane as it lands on or near an airbase in Logar province. At the end of the video, the Taliban show a helicopter and another aircraft being fired upon.
The International Security Assistance Force has not reported that any of its aircraft have been shot down or crash-landed, and would neither confirm nor deny that the aircraft shown in this video was fired upon by the Taliban.
"We have no operational reporting at this time," ISAF Joint Command's Media Operations Desk told The Long War Journal.
The release of video of the C-130 coming under attack took place just one day after the Taliban claimed to have shot down a British Army helicopter in the southern province of Kandahar. ISAF confirmed that a helicopter crashed and five ISAF soldiers were killed on April 26.
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence denied that the Taliban shot down the Lynx helicopter, which is used by the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing "to ferry troops such as the SAS and SBS on missions, and are also heavily armed for supporting fire," The Telegraph reported. The Ministry of Defence instead claimed that the helicopter was likely brought down by a technical problem.
On at least one occasion, ISAF has denied a Taliban claim to have shot down a Coalition helicopter in Afghanistan, only to backtrack on the statement. In December 2013, the Taliban claimed to have shot down a US Army Blackhawk helicopter in the southern Afghan province of Zabul and killed six soldiers.
ISAF quickly denied the report and said that "initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash." Less than one month later, ISAF admitted that the Taliban were responsible for the downing of the Blackhawk.
[Source: By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, NJ, 29Apr14]
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