Taliban 'Hang' Man From Black Hawk Helicopter (Or Did They?)

AP Photo/Zabi Karimi

With the Taliban taking over Afghanistan and the seizure of tens of billions of dollars of US equipment that followed, the next question became whether a bunch of guys in sandals with rusty AK-47s could actually operate any of it.

Well, if a new video is any indication, the answer is yes. Black Hawk helicopters that now make up the Taliban’s arsenal were seen flying over Khandahar Province. And because Twitter allows Taliban propagandists to exist on their platform while they ban former US presidents, it’s being rubbed in our faces.

As you can see, there’s a man hanging from the helicopter as it flys over the city. While the claim that the video shows someone being hung and killed has gone viral. I’m not so sure. I’ve watched the video multiple times and it does look that way initially. But there’s another picture that appears to show the man hanging from a sling with his hand raised. Click on the bottom picture and zoom in to see what I’m talking about.

But even if the man isn’t being hung but is just on a joy-ride, the bigger issue here is that the Black Hawk is in the air at all. I’m a commercial pilot. I could not get into a Black Hawk and get it off the ground without immediately wrapping it around the nearest light pole. To the extent that someone largely untrained could perhaps fly a Cessna for a few minutes without killing themselves, you can’t do that with a helicopter, much less one as complicated as a Black Hawk.

That means the Taliban must be in possession of some number of Afghan Air Force defectors who are now willing to aid the terrorist government. In other words, those are your tax dollars at work, almost certainly used to train whoever is behind the stick. Don’t you just feel great about that investment?

Of course, just days ago, the Biden administration was insisting that the Taliban didn’t have the technical know-how to use much of the equipment that they had captured. Like much of what the president and his cohorts have said the last month, that turned out to not be true. And if they can fly Black Hawks, they can drive M113s and use night-vision goggles.

This entire thing is just a disaster. The Taliban now have a more capable fighting force, with more advanced technology than many NATO nations. While long-term maintenance may be an issue, you can expect their coming relationships with China and Pakistan to pay dividends there.

I know I’m probably spitting into the wind at this point in wanting accountability, but I hope Washington Republicans will keep pressing this issue. This isn’t something that should be allowed to blow over. If we have to wait until after 2022 to start investigations, so be it. But they need to happen no matter the timeframe. What the Biden administration has done here is perhaps the biggest foreign policy blunder since the 1970s.

UPDATE:

As I suspected from my original look at the video and pictures, the Taliban weren’t hanging a man to death from the helicopter. Rather, it’s being reported that he was affixing Taliban flags to various flagpoles, something that would make sense. Regardless, as the thrust of my piece shares, the big news here is that they are flying these Black Hawks at all, and while the fact-check I just linked to also says the type of helicopter is not confirmed, I have eyes. That’s a Black Hawk helicopter.