The Taliban has released a video of what they claim is their newest prisoner of war: A U.S. military dog captured in Afghanistan.
A Taliban propaganda Twitter account posted the video last week, which shows a confused Belgian Malinois in a military style protective vest surrounded by armed, bearded men brandishing rifles and other battlefield spoils they claim to have retrieved during a December battle.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s Alin Nigar district resulted in the capture of the dog, which carries a rank of colonel according to a Washington Post report.
Afghanistan international military coalition spokesman Lt. Col. Will Griffin confirmed Thursday that coalition forces lost a dog during a December operation. According to the Pentagon and other sources, it is the only time a military dog has ever been captured as a POW and used as a hostage.
Belgian Malinois are often trained and deployed by U.S. special forces to sniff out bombs and drugs, and are even taught to rappel or parachute into the field with their handlers. The armed men in the video claim the dog was captured with advanced electronics, including a GPS tracker, and showed what appear to be M4 assault rifles — the U.S. military’s standard field weapon.
“Maybe the dog was released to attack or search off-leash and the dog never returned,” former Air Force military dog handler Kevin Dredden told the Post. “I know for sure the handler is devastated.”