2016 Turkey video is shared with a false claim that Afghan forces take down Pakistan helicopter!

The helicopter belongs to Turkey and it was shot by Kurdish militants and not Afghan forces as the viral claim suggests

Claim

Breaking: Afghan forces shot down a Pakistan Army Helicopter along the disputed Durand line in Kurram.

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Explanation

A tall man with a large rifle in his hands is seen in a 31-second video. A background voice can be heard counting numbers. The man brandishing the firearm then discharges his weapon, setting a chopper on fire. The footage finishes there as the helicopter spins around in the air before falling to the ground. This post is shared with a claim stating, “Afghan forces shot down a Pakistan Army Helicopter along the disputed Durand line in Kurram.” You can view a similar claim post here.

What’s the truth?

We started our analysis with a simple reverse image search which led us to an article from May 14, 2016.

The Washington Post article carried the same viral video and is captioned “Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter.” According to the article, with the weapons system slung over his shoulder, the fighter, dressed in camouflage fatigues, crouches down on a lush slope. The fighter prepares to fire when the launcher locks on its target, a noisy helicopter humming on the horizon. The aircraft is sent spinning and ultimately crashes into the mountainside as the heat-seeking missile swoops through the air and hits the Cobra’s tail.

Using the information above as an outline, we conducted additional research and discovered the Zee News outlet’s video. On May 14, 2016, the same viral footage was shared online with the description, “Kurd fighter shot down a Turkish helicopter.” This means the video is 8 years old.

Also, this same video was posted as shorts with a description as “On 13 May 2016 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, a leftist militant group battling the Turkish state, shot down a Turkish Army Bell SuperCobra attack helicopter using a 9K38 Igla version of the Russian Soviet man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile system. The missile severed the tail section from the rest of the helicopter, causing it to fragment in midair and crash, killing the two pilots on board. The Turkish government first claimed that the helicopter crashed due to an unknown technical failure before it became clear that it was shot down.

The PKK later released this video of the missile being fired and striking the helicopter. This video is some of the first actual video evidence showing the PKK engaging Turkish helicopters with MANPADS or man-portable air defense systems. Turkey and the PKK have been locked in conflict for more than 40 years over autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. The Turkish government has long seen the Kurds, who maintain a separate culture and speak a different language, as a threat to the ethnic purity of the Turkish state.”

All of the above makes it clear that the helicopter shot belongs to Turkey and not Pakistan as the viral claim suggests.

Conclusion:

Thus, we conclude that the viral claim stating Afghan forces shot down a Pakistan Army Helicopter along the disputed Durand line in Kurram is false. In reality, the helicopter was shot by Kurdish militants and not Afghan forces.

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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