On September 15, the Taliban claimed that its fighters shot down a helicopter of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in the district of Khak-e-Safid in the western province of Farah. Voice of Jihad, the news agency of the Afghan group, said that four officers of the AAF and the Afghan National Army (ANA), including a General named “Toryali Farahi,” were killed in the helicopter crash.
The TOLO TV reported that Dadullah Qaneh, a member of Farah’s provincial council, had acknowledged that a helicopter of the AAF crashed while it was heading towards the province. However, Qaneh said that a technical failure was behind the crash.
Experts identified the helicopter as a Russian-made Mi-17 and said that it was armed with B8W20 rocket pods. The AAF operates more than 50 Mi-8\17 helicopters in its “Special Mission Wing.” These helicopters are mainly used to support the special operations of the ANA Commandos.
If the hilocpater was indeed downed by Taliban fighters, Afghan government forces will have to step up their operations in Farah, where the Taliban controls large areas.