Video evidence has surfaced to confirm that the Mar. 18, 2021 crash of an Afghan Mi-17 helicopter in Wardak province was due to it being shot down and not due to an accident.
Thermal aerial footage shows some sort of missile coming into frame and striking the aircraft, which immediately crashes. All nine aboard were killed, four helicopter crewmen and five Afghan soldiers.
Interestingly, it was neither the Taliban or IS-KP that were responsible for the attack, but local militiamen belonging to warlord Abdul Ghani Alipoor, also known as "Commander Sword," had shot the helo down. Afghan security forces had recently been engaged in fighting with the local militia in the area. Alipoor is ethnic Hazara, one of the most oppressed and oft-targeted sects in Afghanistan. Apparently he has built a security network to protect his people when the Afghan government falls to the Taliban after the upcoming tentative American withdrawal. Following the Soviet-Afghan War and prior to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 1996, the various tribal regions of the nation were controlled by local warlords.
Another curious takeaway from this incident is the weapon system used to shoot the helo down. Of the many news reports of the incident, none have confirmed what exactly shot down the aircraft, although, one report mentioned it being a "laser-guided weapon." Did Commander Sword's men get lucky with an anti tank guided missile? Do these fighters have MANPADS? That remains to be seen, but one thing that is certain is that this group is very well equipped to fight, and this video demonstrates increased threat to the safety of our own troops that may be operating in the area.