Two days after a military Mi-17 helicopter crashed in Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan, new video footage has revealed that it wasn’t an accident but a planned attack.
The investigators have found that the helicopter was shot down by militias associated with warlord Abdul Ghani Alipoor. Tolo News reported that the Mi-17 helicopter was attacked by a laser-guided weapon by fighters loyal to Alipoor in the Behsud district. The media house released a video of the attack, which appeared to be recorded from another helicopter flying above the doomed helicopter. At about 7-seconds into the video footage, the helicopter can be seen being shot by a missile, after which it loses control and tumbles down, crashing on the ground.
Exclusive: TOLOnews has obtained a video that shows the moment an army helicopter was downed in Maidan Wardak province last week.— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) March 20, 2021
A senior security source tells TOLOnews that the helicopter was attacked by a laser-guided weapon by fighters loyal to Alipoor in Behsud district. pic.twitter.com/uJyco3d5o6
The attack took place on Thursday (March 18) at around 2 am in the night. The incident claimed the lives of 5 Afghan National Army soldiers and 4 military pilots. The helicopters were transporting Afghan forces to the Behsud district. Out of four army helicopters, one of them was attacked. The Afghan Defence Ministry had earlier informed that a probe was initiated to determine the cause of the crash.
Wardak, where the chopper was shot down, is home to warlord Abdul Ghani Alipoor and his militia. Alipoor hails from the ethnic Hazara community and is fighting against the Islamist terror outfit, Taliban and the nomadic Kuchis, who have been targeting the ethnic Hazaras. He was arrested in 2018 but released following a wave of protests.
Afghan Defence Ministry seeks revenge for the attack
The attack comes after the appointment of a new police commander by the Afghan government in the province. Alipoor has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has vowed to avenge the attack on the Afghan Air Force helicopter. Ministry spokesman Fawad Alam warned, “The Ministry of Defense will revenge for the attack at any cost.”
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had earlier vowed to punish the culprits involved in downing the Mi-17 chopper. Provincial council member, Sharifullah Hotak, said, “When the chopper was landing, illegal armed men of Commander Alipoor opened fire (at) the chopper”.