Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

February 6, 2014

Military dog captured by Taliban fighters, who post video of their captive

In the annals of prisoner of war videos, this seems to be a first. A slightly befuddled Belgian Malinois appears on a tight leash, surrounded by heavily armed, bearded men boasting of their battlefield loot.

Donning a black protective vest, the dog wags its tail at certain points and appears more confused than terrified as its captors showcase specialized rifles and a global positioning device with a blinking light they say came attached to the dog.

"Allah gave victory to the mujahideen!" one of the fighters exclaims. "Down with them, down with their spies!"

A link to the video was posted this week on the Twitter account of a user who often disseminates Taliban propaganda. A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the dog was captured after a lengthy firefight between U.S. forces and Taliban fighters in the Alin Nigar district of Afghanistan's Laghman province in late December.

"The mujahedeen valorously put tough resistance against the troops for hours," he said in a phone interview Thursday. The dog, he said, carried the rank of colonel and was outfitted with sophisticated electronic devices.

 "The dog was of high significance to the Americans," he said.

Lt. Col. Will Griffin, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan, confirmed Thursday in an email that the force lost a military working dog during an operation in December. He did not provide further details.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials could think of no prior instance in which a military working dog had been taken captive.

Also featured in the video are two M4 assault rifles outfitted with scopes that are commonly used by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan.

The video caught the attention of analysts at SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks and studies insurgent propaganda. The group's founder, Rita Katz, said she could not recall anything like it.

"I don't remember seeing a dog used as a hostage," she said after checking her database. The only time canines were featured in insurgent propaganda, Katz said, was in Iraq, when insurgents once proposed using the mutts as unsuspecting suicide bombers.

U.S. Special Operations troops often use Belgian Malinois, a breed favored for its light weight, agility and endurance. They are trained to parachute and rappel with their handlers. Some dogs are trained to sniff out explosives; others learn how to find narcotics. In Afghanistan, canines are often used to search compounds that might be rigged with explosives before humans move in.

"Maybe the dog was released to attack or search off-leash and the dog never returned," said Kevin Dredden, a former Air Force military dog handler and Afghanistan veteran who now works as a program manager at AMK9, a firm that trains dogs that go on to work with law enforcement and military units. "Maybe it was unsafe for them to go back and find him."

One thing is certain, according to Dredden.

"I know for sure the handler is devastated," he said, noting the tight bonds handlers and military dogs forge.

Dogs are given ranks that make them senior to their handlers, a practice designed to ensure the human treats the animals with deference. They have a rank patch on their body armor.

When President Barack Obama visited Fort Campbell to personally thank the elite troops who found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, the name of only one of the special operators was disclosed: Cairo, the elite team's Belgian Malinois.

      

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks