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. [See Threat Matrix report, Taliban claim credit for ISAF helo crash in Afghan south, and LWJ report, ISAF confirms Taliban downing of US helicopter in Zabul.’]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • DANNY says:

    Looks more like a foam model plane than a C-130. I just imagine propaganda target practice. It looks like it lost foam in the wings

  • blert says:

    The propaganda is a composite:
    1) The most impressive image is a ‘Photoshop’ job — with the jihadi slapped on top of stock footage.
    2) C-130s are almost impossible to shoot down with light flak. From the very beginning, Lockheed designed them to resist it: redundant controls, four engines, multiple fuel tanks, over sized wings, etc. It takes missiles or heavy flak to shoot them down.
    The usual fate of a shot up C-130 is to make it back to base — thence to be scrapped out: salvaged for spare parts.
    This practice started in WWII with all of the shot up machines that came in on a wing and a prayer. It was in this way that the USAAF largely avoided shipping in repair parts. (!)
    For example: the typical P-47 never got past 20 flight hours. (!)
    (They were persistently flying into harm’s way. Many a machine was lost on its first mission. Famously, one P-47 made it to the cover of Look magazine (?) because it landed while sheathed in flame in Normandy. Film of this event eventually made it into a PBS broadcast about P-47 pilots.)
    In short: even ruined aircraft fly away.
    3) One of the damaged C-130s images shows a machine that has been professionally salvaged for all of its parts. That takes time, trick equipment expertise that the Taliban totally lack.
    Inserting Photoshopped imagery ruins all credibility.

  • Paul D says:

    The problems are always in Eastern Afghanistan aka Pakistanis supported insurgency!

  • bman says:

    If this is true it would be big news. The odd helicopter is one thing, a C-130 is another.

  • WitchDoctor says:

    Does not look like the 130 took any hits.
    I Suck At Fighting denies it. We will see.

  • Steve Gregg says:

    The probability of kill of a ground-based gun without radar guidance hitting any aircraft at altitude is pretty slim. You just can’t hit aircraft flying above five thousand feet AGL with a visually aimed gun.
    Also, the odds of a group of Taliban gunners going against an AC-130 gunship and winning are very low. It would be suicidal.

  • Neil Chapman says:

    The downed plane at the end of the video has 6 blades. AC-130W Stinger II has 4 blades like other C-130H’s. The first AC-130J Ghostrider (6-blade prop) did it’s maiden flight in February. No way this was a gunship.

  • Agile Eye says:

    The “bright flashes” are merely light reflections from a setting sun glinting off the spinning disk of the propeller and engine cowling as well as parts of the rear fuselage. In this regard is also obvious that the apparent times of day between the footage of the AAA being fired, and that of the aircraft apparently being shot at are markedly different.
    Other footage is historical and not even co-located in either time or place.
    Open your eyes people!

  • Dave Frazee says:

    photo of C-130 is taken from here: http://www.afcent.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123351612


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