Pakistan Taliban says it shot down helicopter

Video purports to show missile similar to one group claims to have used to shoot down helicopter, killing diplomats.

    A video has been released which purports to show Pakistani Taliban fighters with a surface-to-air missile, claiming they used a similar one to shoot down a Pakistani helicopter carrying diplomats.

    The video includes a message from the Tehreek-e-Taliban claiming they fired a missile from a distance of 3km to down the helicopter on Friday.

    "The missile hit the tail rotor," a written message in Urdu says at the video's start.

    The crash killed seven people: the ambassadors to Pakistan from the Philippines and Norway, the wives of the ambassadors from Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as three Pakistani crew members.

    Twelve passengers, many of them diplomats, were injured.

    Previously, Pakistan said a technical failure caused the crash in Gilgit's Naltar valley and dismissed an earlier Tehreek-e-Taliban claim as opportunistic.

    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Gilgit, said separate footage of the crash obtained by Al Jazeera and accounts of survivors of the accident supported the Pakistani government's position that it was caused by a technical failure.

    Military officials could not be immediately reached on Sunday.

    In the video, a masked fighter discusses the missile's parts, while another portion shows what appears to be a hand-drawn picture of how a missile can strike a helicopter's tail rotor.

    Access to missiles

    The video was released late on Saturday via websites and corresponded to other messages distributed by the Pakistani Taliban, though it could not be independently verified.

    Fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan have access to surface-to-air missiles.

    A later Taliban statement on Sunday said its missile hit the rotor as the helicopter turned, saving it from being destroyed in mid-air.

    "No matter if the Pakistani government accepts it or not, it doesn't bother us," the statement said. "God willing, we will carry out [more] such attacks."

    Pakistani security forces have been battling armed groups in the country's northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan for the past several years.

    That fighting took on a new urgency after a Taliban attack in December on a military school killed 150 people, many of them children.

    The helicopter's crash site is several hundred kilometres from the North Waziristan tribal area, where fighting recently has been focused.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AP


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