Fog of War: Taliban Claim Chinook Killer Still Alive

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The Tangi Valley, in the daytime / Army photo by Edward Garibay

As soon as we heard Marine General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was going to brief Wednesday morning, we knew he’d have something positive to say: a U.S. F-16 terminated the Taliban who downed the CH-47 Chinook in the Tangi Valley over the weekend with extreme prejudice early Monday.

But as sure as day follows night, the Taliban have now responded to Allen’s assertion:

“This is not true,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the news agency AFP Thursday. “After seeing the enemy statement, we contacted the mujahed [fighter] who shot down the helicopter and he’s not dead. He’s busy conducting jihad elsewhere in the country.”

It’s the ideal action/reaction by each side: no way for the U.S. to prove it got him, and no way for the Taliban to prove it didn’t.