Video: Taliban Claims It Captured Military War Dog

Footage shows a canine in a tactical vest, with insurgents holding captured weapons. 

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The Taliban says it has captured a military dog and released a video depicting a demure canine strapped into what appears to be a tactical vest. Supposed insurgents stand around the dog, one gripping its leash and others holding what look like captured American or NATO rifles.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the insurgent group, said Friday that the dog was captured in a firefight in Laghman province to the east of Kabul roughly a month ago, reports The Associated Press. A voice-over in the video refers to the dog as “Colonel.”

The dog is in a safe place, Mujahid told the AP by phone, adding that the canine is not injured or being mistreated.

[REPORT: U.S. Ceases Drone Strikes for Pakistan, Taliban Talks]  

A military source tells CNN the dog is not American, but British. The Telegraph says the date of the dog's reported capture – Dec. 23 – matches up with an operation in which a British special forces soldier was killed, and cites military sources who say the dog belongs to a Special Air Service unit, the British equivalent to U.S. Army Special Forces.

The dog appears to be a Belgian Malinois or some sort of shepherd mix – the preferred breeds for special operations units that have employed what they call a combat assault dog, or CAD, for commando missions throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are employed to root out people hiding or find weapons caches.  

These dogs usually wear a vest, making it easier for their handlers to pull them in and out of vehicles and to use as a harness for parachute jumps. The vests often bear cameras, allowing the military unit to monitor a video feed of hard-to-reach places only the dog can enter.

The elite Navy unit that stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011, ultimately killing the al-Qaida leader, brought with it a dog handler and a Malinois named Cairo.