Taliban Trying To Fly US Helicopter? No, It's An Old Video

BOOM found that the video from 2020 shows GNA-aligned forces towing the Mi-35 helicopter in Tripoli, Libya.

An old video of a grounded helicopter being towed by a vehicle after a possible capture is being falsely linked to the United States' final withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban militia's takeover of the latter.

The video, which appears to show uncontrolled movement of the helicopter on land, is viral with the claim that the Taliban is learning to fly an abandoned American chopper in Afghanistan.

The Taliban took control over the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the US completed its withdrawal on August 31, and seized Chinook helicopters and other equipment left behind by the US military. However, the US claimed that it had destroyed its military equipment before its final exit from Afghanistan. Following this, several videos of the Taliban fighters entering a hangar in Kabul and examining Chinook helicopters, rejoicing near abandoned American helicopters, carrying US supplied M24 sniper rifles and M18 assault weapons have emerged.

In this backdrop, the viral video showing an uncontrolled defense helicopter moving on land, is viral with the caption, "Post US exit - a helicopter is being towed by a pickup somewhere in Afghanistan".


Click here to view the post. The first three seconds of the video show a car pulling the helicopter.

Another Facebook page posted the video with a caption saying, "Taliban "Helicopter Flight Training" #KabulAirport".


Click here to view the post.

Bengali news channel Zee 24 Ghanta also aired the viral video with a similar claim. The video can be seen on its Facebook page and YouTube channel.


Click here to see an archive of the YouTube video. In the Zee 24 Ghanta news bulletin the reporter can be heard saying, "After the Taliban took control of a helicopter, see what happens. The wheels of the copter moved on land for a long time. It was unable to fly ever. After the American soldiers left, the Taliban have captured the airport and they are trying to fly a helicopter. But the helicopter is refusing to fly . The video is viral but Zee 24 Ghanta has not verified the video." The anchor however does not clarify that a vehicle tows the helicopter in the viral video.

Zee 24 Ghanta's news bulletin carrying the viral video can be seen below.

Also Read: Did UNSC Remove Taliban From Terror List Under India's Presidency? A FactCheck

Fact Check

BOOM did a reverse image search on one of the keyframes of the viral video and found it on a Turkish news outlet Yeni Akit's article published on June 4, 2020. This shows that the video has been available on the internet a year before the Taliban militia took control of the Kabul airport.

Source: Yeni Akit

According to the Google translation of the Turkish article, the video shows a capture of the Russian-made Mi-35 attack helicopter by the Government of National Accord (GNA), an interim government for Libya formed in 2015 and dissolved in 2021.

According to an article by Russian news outlet Lenta published on June 5, 2020, forces of the GNA in Libya captured the Mi-35 helicopter belonging to the Libyan National Army (LNA) under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The Mi-35 helicopter was captured at the airport of the Libyan capital Tripoli. The footage was published on the Military Informant Telegram channel, reported the article.

BOOM also found a tweet by international relations and security expert Abdullah Ağar from June 5, 2020 carrying the same video. The translation of the tweet reads, "The irony of war. Look at the crash of the multi-million dollar Mi-35 attack helicopter with deadly firepower. Like a broken tripod! From those recovered from Halfer."

BOOM has reached out to Abdullah Ağar for further details on the video. The article will be updated when we get a response.

An article by Russia's Piter.TV published on June 5, 2020, further states the same in an article headline, "Libyan government captured Field Marshal Haftar's Mi-35 helicopter." An excerpt reads, "The Libyan government has acquired the Mi-35 of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar . This was announced on the evening of June 4 by representatives of the Military Informant Telegram channel. According to information from journalists, the Government of National Accord was able to hijack a helicopter that belongs to the forces of the Libyan National Army."

BOOM has been debunking viral misinformation and disinformation since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan. You can view our fact-check articles in the thread below.

Also Read: Zee Hindustan Runs Old Video As Minors Fighting Taliban In Panjshir

Updated On: 2021-09-06T21:44:36+05:30
Claim Review :   Video shows Talibans are trying to fly American helicopters.
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False
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