Taliban Brag About Latest Battlefield Captive -- a Dog

By Muhammad Lila - ABC News
By Luis Martinez - ABC News
By Lee Ferran - ABC News

Taliban Brag About Latest Battlefield Captive -- a Dog

February 6, 2014 Updated Feb 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM EDT

AFGHANISTAN (ABC News) -- Military officials in Afghanistan confirm that a military working dog went missing in December and is possibly the dog shown in a Taliban video that claims it was captured from U.S. troops during a firefight in eastern Afghanistan.

In the recently released video, the Taliban claims the brown dog they say is named Colonel was taken on Dec. 23 during a night raid by U.S. military forces.

In the video Taliban fighters claim that they fought off American troops and captured the dog.

It's was not immediately known what happened to the dog's handler.

A Defense official confirms the dog was seized after a firefight in Laghman province with Taliban fighters. The official would not disclose details of the mission, but said it was not a night raid.

It is believed that this is the first military working dog known to have been captured by the Taliban. The Army has 578 dog teams that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Four dogs have died in Afghanistan since March 2011.

A spokesman for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan confirms to ABC News that a working service dog went missing on a mission in December.

However, an American defense official says that the dog did not belong to U.S. forces, but belonged to the forces of another NATO nation serving in Afghanistan. The official would not disclose the country.

The U.S. military and other nations use working dogs in several capacities in the front lines of Afghanistan. Some are used in the detection of roadside bombs and others are teamed with special operations forces.

The Taliban video shows Taliban fighters gathered around a dog wearing a black vest equipped with what they say is a flashlight, camera and GPS device. The vest shown in the video matches the descriptions of those worn by military working dogs used by special operations units.

According to the book "Dogs on Duty" by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, working dogs attached to special operations units wear vests "to protect it and to provide its handler with information about what it encounters on its mission."

The role that military working dogs play on special operations mission was highlighted by the May, 2011 SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. A Belgian Malinois named Cairo was a part of the SEAL team that raided bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan.

Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL and Editor-in-Chief SOFREP.com, says "In the Special Ops community these dogs are doing incredible work to keep military professionals alive with their explosive detection skills, and assisting assault force entry teams take down bad guys on target." He adds that they are also a morale booster not only for their handler, but "they also provide companionship for their unit, dog handler, and the entire base. Words cannot explain how valuable this is, and only fellow pet owners understand."




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