Did a US Drone Accidentally Shoot Down Pakistan Army Helicopter in Balochistan?

A helicopter of the Pakistan Army on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan, went missing on Monday evening. 6 officers, including Corps Commander Quetta, Lt. Gen. Sarfaraz Ali, who was supervising the operations, were on-board.

The Directorate General (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed the news regarding the missing helicopter late last night. Earlier today, a statement from the DG ISPR confirmed that the wreckage of the ill-fated helicopter has been found in the Musa Goth area of Windar, a small town in Lasbela.

According to the official statement, all officers, including Lt. Gen. Sarfaraz Ali, embraced martyrdom. Initial investigation has revealed that the crash resulted due to bad weather.

Although the DG ISPR has confirmed the crash resulted due to inclement weather, some anti-state elements have started a rumor mill on social media platforms that a US drone shot down the helicopter.

The rumors originated from a Twitter account with the username Caryn E. Gifford, who apparently is a Level 2 Policy Advisor to US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Blome.

She penned that:

The US Embassy in Pakistan regrets to inform that one of our tactical drones has accidentally targeted a Pakistan Army helicopter, resulting in multiple fatalities. The team is on the crash site in Lasbela, Balochistan, and we mourn the loss of Commander 12 Corps Lt. Gen. Sarfaraz Ali.

The screenshot of the tweet is being widely shared on social media channels and WhatsApp groups.

In addition to the erroneous sentence structure of the purported Level 2 Advisor, there are some other things that must be noted here.

First is that the official Twitter account of the US Embassy Islamabad has neither tweeted, retweeted, nor liked any statement that points to the claim made by Caryn Gifford.

The second is that Caryn Gifford’s Twitter account was created in October 2021. At the time of sharing the controversial tweet, the account had just two followers. However, the username of Caryn Gifford’s account has now been changed to Chantille Austin, and all tweets have been deleted. Although the bio remains pretty much the same, the account has gained over 500 followers, at the time of writing.

Lastly, Caryn Gifford’s claim of a Pakistani helicopter accidentally getting shot down by a tactical US drone coincides with the killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a US drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Ayman’s death is the biggest blow dealt to Al-Qaeda since the murder of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Moreover, this is the first US drone strike in Afghanistan after the US exit from the war-torn country.

So, chances are high that the individual behind Caryn Gifford’s account only wanted to engender fears that the US has returned to the region with its drone attacks.

Twitter users have pointed out that Caryn Gifford’s Twitter account is fake and has nothing to do with US Ambassador. However, an official rebuttal from the US Embassy in Islamabad is awaited in this regard.

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  • As soon as I heard of the missing helicopter and reading of the Al Qaida’s leader being targeted by a drone, my first question was in fact … what if ? what I couldn’t figure out was if so deliberate or accidental ?

  • Ye jo kuch bi howa ” muje yaqeen hai kisi ka paln teo hai………. Aur jaha tak ain tweet ki baat hai ””’ teo ye fake hai ……mey kuhd ak freelancer ho teo muje ain chizo ka pata hai ”””ye zada tar logo ko bawaquufe bana kar pasie kamane keliye use kia jata hai (Thankyou)

  • Absolutely NOT – pure speculation. The helicopter went down in an area that falls in the regular flight path of Army Avn Aircraft. “Probable cause” No 1 Dusk flight, bad weather, low below cloud flying in Hilly Area. “Remote possibility” shooting down by Baluchi rebels.

  • When you have no authentic sources on this type of matter why you people published such articles.

  • This is also a possible distraction by the usual regime chnagers i.e. everyone starts talking about this and no one talks about the fact that the drone strike in Kabul suppoedly used Pakistani air space!

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