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2020 Video from Libya shared as Taliban trying to fly Black Hawk Helicopter

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A video accompanied by a post is being widely shared on social media claiming that the Taliban in Afghanistan were trying to fly the US’ leftover Black Hawk Helicopter. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

Claim: Video of Taliban trying to fly the Black Hawk Helicopter.

Fact: The video is from Libya and not from Afghanistan. Libya since 2019 had a conflict between UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and a coalition of armed groups led by Qadhafi-era military defector Khalifa Haftar known as the Libyan National Army. On 04 June 2020, GNA-aligned forces were towing the Mi-35 helicopter captured at the outskirts of Tarhuna, Tripoli. A defunct Mi-35 helicopter gifted by India was seized by the Taliban recently, but the video is not related to this seizure. Hence, the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

When reverse image search is done on the screenshots of the video, a tweet with a similar video was found. The tweet made on 05 June 2020 says that GNA-aligned forces were towing the Mi-35 helicopter captured at the outskirts of Tarhuna, Tripoli. Tripoli is the capital of Libya. Therefore, the video is old and not from Afghanistan.  

Taking the cue that the video is from Libya, an article was found when searched in google with relevant keywords. On 04 June 2020, the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Mi-35 helicopter was captured by Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and driven on the streets of Tripoli Airport. Similar videos of the incident can be seen here and here. So, the video is not related to Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Libya, which holds Africa’s biggest oil reserves, has been mired in conflict since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. In recent years, the country was split between a UN-recognised government in the capital Tripoli (GNA) and a coalition of armed groups led by Qadhafi-era military defector Khalifa Haftar known as the Libyan National Army. The chaotic war had drawn in several outside powers and foreign arms and mercenaries. They signed ‘permanent ceasefire’ on 23 October 2020.

On 31 August 2021, the United States of America had completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban then declared victory and independence and took control of the Kabul airport. According to reports, the United States military had disabled 73 aircraft, 27 Humvees, weapons systems, and other high-tech defence equipment before boarding the final flight from Kabul.

A viral video on social media suggests that a defunct Mi-35 helicopter was seized by the Taliban at the Kunduz Airbase. There are reports that the helicopter seized by the Taliban from Afghan National Defence Forces may have been gifted by India to Afghanistan. India gifted four of these helicopters to Afghanistan earlier. ‘Indian defence forces declined to comment on the issue, saying that they would not like to comment on the internal matters of Afghanistan’ according to this article.

To sum it up, 2020 Video from Libya is shared as Taliban trying to fly Black Hawk Helicopter.

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