UPDATE, Sept. 1, 2021: The day after this commentary was published, additional information became available about this incident. According to Reuters, “What appears to be a zoomed in version of a viral video of a man dangling from a helicopter in Afghanistan shows him moving and waving. This closer-up video, along with other photos that show a similar helicopter and a similar harness, appear to dispel the popular narrative circulating online that the scene shows a man hanged by the Taliban.”
A freelance journalist cited by Reuters tweeted that the man in the harness had been trying, ultimately unsuccessfully, to install a Taliban flag from the air.
We have edited the headline of this commentary accordingly, but otherwise the article remains as originally published.
There are disturbing reports of a Taliban-operated helicopter flying around the Kandahar province of Afghanistan carrying a dead body.
The kicker? The helicopter in the clip appears to be a Black Hawk, meaning that this is likely an American military aircraft that was seized by the Taliban during the takeover because the Afghan military could not properly protect the equipment.
Social media went ablaze with the sickening clip, with some placing the blame on President Joe Biden.
WARNING: The following videos contain graphic images that some viewers will find offensive.
“If this is what it looks like… the Taliban hanging somebody from an American Blackhawk… I could vomit. Joe Biden is responsible,” conservative commentator Liz Wheeler tweeted.
If this is what it looks like… the Taliban hanging somebody from an American Blackhawk… I could vomit. Joe Biden is responsible.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) August 30, 2021
“This is the Taliban, that the Biden administration called ‘pragmatic’ and ‘businesslike’ Pragmatically and businesslike hanging an American interpreter from an American Blackhawk helicopter and if the GOP has any balls this would be every campaign ad in 2022,” conservative writer Carmine Sabia wrote.
This is the Taliban, that the Biden administration called “pragmatic” and “businesslike” Pragmatically and businesslike hanging an American interpreter from an American Blackhawk helicopter and if the GOP has any balls this would be every campaign ad in 2022. pic.twitter.com/ddgLuMhbyt
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) August 30, 2021
Christiaan Triebert, a reporter at The New York Times, corroborated the account of the Taliban’s use of the helicopter by mentioning how the aircraft was seen on a tarmac earlier this month.
“Days ago, video had already appeared showing the US-made helicopter taxiing on tarmac. Circumstances of pilot are unclear (you don’t just fly a helicopter like that, could be former AAF pilot),” he tweeted.
UH-60 Blackhawk pictured flying over Taliban-flag in Kandahar. Days ago, video had already appeared showing the US-made helicopter taxiing on tarmac. Circumstances of pilot are unclear (you don’t just fly a helicopter like that, could be former AAF pilot). Via @A_Jahid_Jalal. pic.twitter.com/fJ463O8lXO
— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) August 30, 2021
The video began making the rounds on Twitter shortly after the U.S. officially removed all soldiers from Afghanistan on Monday.
The lack of protection (or destruction) of American military equipment by Afghan and American forces prior to the takeover has been one of the biggest failures of the withdrawal, as it is unclear what other tools the Taliban now have at their disposal.
Thankfully, much of the equipment is decommissioned, but exceptions like this Black Hawk helicopter are cause for alarm.
— Nabih (@nabihbulos) August 30, 2021
Displaying a dead body swinging from an American helicopter is a giant middle finger to the Western world that has battled terrorism for the past two decades.
Biden and his top military personnel need to be held accountable for the atrocities that have resulted from the poorly planned end of the War in Afghanistan.
Videos like these show only a tiny portion of what the Taliban could be capable of, and one can only imagine the horrors that happen behind closed doors.
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