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.
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.