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Taliban Captures Dog

In the annals of prisoner-of-war videos, this seems to be a first. A slightly befuddled Belgian Malinois appears on a tight leash, surrounded by heavily armed, bearded men boasting of their battlefield loot.

Wearing a black protective vest, the dog wags its tail at certain points and appears more confused than terrified as its captors showcase specialized rifles and a global positioning device with a blinking light that they say came attached to the canine.

“Allah gave victory to the mujahideen!” one of the fighters exclaims. “Down with them, down with their spies!”

A link to the video was posted this week on the Twitter account of a user who often disseminates Taliban propaganda. A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the dog was captured after a long firefight between coalition forces and Taliban fighters in the Alin Nigar district of Afghanistan’s Laghman province in late December.

“The mujahideen valorously put tough resistance against the troops for hours,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. The dog, he said, carries the rank of colonel and was outfitted with sophisticated electronic devices.

“The dog was of high significance to the Americans,” he said.

Lt. Col. Will Griffin, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan, confirmed Thursday in an email that the force lost a military working dog during an operation in December. He did not provide further details. Officials at the Pentagon said they could recall no prior instance of a military working dog being taken captive.

The canine was attached to a British special forces unit that was engaged in a fatal firefight on Dec. 23, according to a military official who confirmed the nationality of the dog on the condition of anonymity because the British Defense Ministry has chosen not to do so.