WTF? Talib with Captured M240

Kit Up! reader Tim tipped us off to this interesting photo showing a Taliban insurgent carrying what looks like a US-issued M240 (I think it’s a G, not a B, but I could be wrong).

It’s an AP photo featured on the Boston Globe’s website of 2010 war on terror pics.

I guess the question here is how did this insurgent get the weapon? The picture was taken in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan’s east. It’s a pretty nasty place with lots of insurgent activity and daily firefights. This is where the Afghan trainees turned on their American instructors recently, killing six Soldiers.

The area is mostly patrolled by US Army troops, with some Marine trainers sprinkled in. The Army and Marine Corps use the M240B and the Marine Corps uses the M240G — and this looks to me like a G. So the mystery is: if this is a Marine M240, How did the bad guys get it?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A Marine commenter corrected me that the Corps now uses the M240B more than the M240G]

The most obvious answer is that the machine gun was taken off a dead American after an ambush. But I think this is highly unlikely given the importance of the weapon and the forces designated to protect it. This could also have been slipped to the insurgents by unscrupulous Afghan security forces, but I’ve never seen an Afghan patrol — other than maybe a commando unit — using US medium machine guns.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The same Marine commenter says the ANA use M240s on their trucks in Helmand]

Our boy CJ Chivers talks about insurgents getting US suppliedweapons, but it’s mostly AKs and ammo.

Some might say this was pilfered from a boosted supply convoy ambushed on the Pakistan side of the border. But this kind of weaponry isn’t usually transported overland, so I think this scenario is highly unlikely.

Let’s do a little “cloud” reporting here and see what we can find out about this machine gun. I’ll make some calls, but I’d like to see if our readers can weigh in with some of the gouge.

Thanks again to Tim for bringing this to our attention.

  • Devil Dawg

    In “Restrepo”, the bad guys who killed Sgt R. up on that hill, took his 240 and other stuff of his. That could be it.

    • Infidel4LIFE

      You may be correct, but from wat “Restrepo” the book says, Sgt. R had an M-4 w/a suppressor [and other things on his rails] i may be wrong, but damn that may be it.

  • Jeff the Baptist

    The insurgent has a heat shield on his 240’s gas tube. Therefore it is probably a 240B with the upper barrel heat shield removed to shed weight, not the 240G which is not issued with barrel or gas tube heat shields at all.

    • zak

      1913 rail on the feed tray cover, therefore it is a 240B the lack of the rail on the feed tray cover is one of the big differences between a B and G. Also just because the army and the marines use them doesnt mean they arent available world wide. FN is a international company(Belgium) the the 240/mag 58(damn near same gun) are available all over the world.

      • zakk

        also, it looks as if there are rails on the gas tube

  • Gavin

    The SEAL team that was overrun a few years back was carrying a weapon like that in the pre-deployment photos.

    • Wake

      OP Redwing? I don’t think so, don’t think many SEALs run around with 240s. Pretty sure they used to stick with M60E3s and now are using Mk. 46/48s. General consensus from was that it was probably picked up from ANA or ANP. They’re definitely Afghans that are issued it.

    • Cmatt

      If you are talking about SEAL Team 10 in 2005, they took two M4’s and two “Mark 12 sniper rifles” according to the book Lone Survivor.

    • USMC_11

      I have researched Operation Redwing and I have seen all the relating pictures.. As far as I know, there was no type of support weapons taken on that mission. They were all a M4 or M16 varient. (However, one looks like a DMR modded M16 and another has the stock you would see on a SCAR but the reciever looks like a M4)

  • 5-ACTUAL

    I’m currently writing to you from a small COP in Marjeh, Afghanistan and I have to say this post has several discrepancies. Marines for the most part are no longer using the M240-G and all that I have seen here both in RCT-7 and now RCT-1 have switched over to the M240-B. This change happened for my unit several years ago.
    Also, I just checked my personal photos taken over here to confirm, the ANA do have US made M240-B. mounted on their Ford Ranger’s throughout the AO here in Helmand. I have some pictures to confirm. Man, you weren’t kidding when you said you needed to brush up on your Marine info in the previous post. Forget Marsyscom with their bayonets and elbowpads. Stick to talking with us REAL grunts. – Sgt. 5 Actual

    • Ouch…it hurts, but it’s true…since I left marine corps times i’ve spent a lot more time covering the army than the marine corps…sorry for the gum ups…

  • Redband D

    lets not look at the weapon. Look at the two ‘insurgents’. Their clothing look awlfully clean. Infact , the guy in brown looks like his clothes are pressed. Do insurgents go around in their ‘class As’ much. Since the photo is from the AP, maybe its a canned photo op.

    • Marauder

      I agree. This photo does not seem to show insurgents or other enemy combatants. The two individuals pictured seem awfully clean to have been humping the mountains for who knows how long. Furthermore, the individual in the back ground seems to be wearing what is either most likely Oakley, Nike, or Blackhawk Warrior Wear dessert boots. My first thought on seeing the photo is these individuals are either Army Special Forces or other Special Operations Operators embedded with locals.

      • Without other data, I would have to concur with this.

  • DerekSmalls7

    I can’t speak for the northern or eastern parts of the country, but in Helmand province the USMC has been issuing M16A2’s and M240G’s (Yes, it’s a G btw, that is not a heat shield on the gas tube–it’s a rail system) to all the ANA. So there’s a variety of ways an insurgent can acquire one: from a dead ANA, from a crooked ANA, etc.

  • Tier 1

    Or maybe its our SAD/JSOC guys going deep undercover.

  • Wolverine

    That guy looks like an Afghan Punisher or Deadpool. Somebody call Stan Lee.

    • Punisher

      Never call an Afghan a Punisher…I am a Punisher from RCP3.

  • Lance

    Sorry to see that. But seeing enemy forces use captured US weapons is NOT uncommon . In Vietnam M-14s where popular with VC units in areas near Saigon since 7.62x51mm ammo was easy to steal or swipe.

  • Antonio

    It certainly looks to me (with their clean clothes and dramatic poses) like they are posing for that AP photo op for moral (as Redband mentioned). Now, only if we can get intel on these scenarios… notice their buddies hanging out like high school kids in a parking lot… Nice work on the find.

  • guest

    Its a 240 B, the heat shield has been removed( all it does it get in the way of a barrel change) and you can clearly see the rail system. The 240 G did not have these features.


  • Tim

    Apparently, Rhamat Gul is the guy to ask. And to see an up-close-and-personal photo, go to:

  • Roland

    It probably from one of the ambushed shipment in Pakistan route. This is why we need to use the air route and V-22 for resupply.

  • Roland

    The clothing is a custom Pakistan dress so it could be a Pakistan Taliban from Pakistan border origin where he get it.

  • Anthony

    That is a 240 Bravo Golfs do not have anything on the barrel past the reciever. Don’t let anyone forget that we give the ANA guys this kinda gear all of the time. Those hajis might have just killed some ANA guys stole some equipment or is your local two faced ANA man Ahab the Arab.

  • Jay

    Does it really have to be American M240? FN MAG58 has been in use around the globe by over 80 coultries.

  • defensor fortissimo

    the sad thing is that is not the heaviest western machine gun the taliban is toting. A captain from my squadron was part of a convoy that got hit with a captured M2 and Mk 19 a few months ago.

  • carg

    Posing with the enemy’s weapon is great PR in the terrorist world. Palestinians with M4s/M16s, that dude in Iraq with the m249.

    Linked 7.62 nato ammunition might be hard to find.

  • Bubba

    That’s me and my cousins at Barstow playing with our airsofts. Yes, those are airsofts. Sorry for the trouble.

    • Um, no. I have seen the M240 AEG, and not only is it the G variant, it uses a box for ammunition; that, and the airsoft version has no rail system.

  • David

    I’m in Khost Province right now and I’m seen normal ANA and ANP patrolling with 240s. I’ve walked up to ANA OPs before and could have easily snatched one of the 240s they just had laying around

  • james smith

    OK WELL LETS LOOK A LITTLE CLOSER HERE! Someone i has already said it looks posed, I agree look at mr cool in the light blue he has a camelbak and a chest rig not to mention his oakley boots and the guy with the 240 has a clean shoulder pad.hmmmm sounds like a posed picture to me there is no wnews reporting being odne over there any way.

  • I would venture to say it probably WAS posed. If you read the story, it’s talking about the interview with Talibs at a security check point. When I read the story a few weeks ago (and saw the pics for the first time) I was surprised to see they allowed a Western reporter “embed” with their forces, let alone go around taking snap shots of them on patrol.

    They’re clean, they’ve got new equipment, and there is a big band of baddies in the back just hanging around. It all looks pretty fishy to me.

  • recon marine

    really looks posed to me,It’s a morale booster for the bad guys to show off any american gear, it was the same in viet nam and was done on both sides…nothing says we’re winning like a captured weapon or some 782 gear..It is a very important find but just a show to boost the ass-holes morale..horrah marines you got them surrounded you can kill’em any where with-in 360 degrees!!!!!!

  • SSG Parks ACTUAL

    come on the guys realy quit being dumb the guy in the back on the rock is definatley wearing us issued boots and apears to be drinking from a camel back ….maybe al quieda has a deal with them too who knows

  • wyoreconmarine

    All of you wake up, there’s nothing real here. Clean pressed clothes, Oakley glasses and boots, camelback, etc. Must be a page from Afghan GQ.

    • crackedlenses


  • crackedlenses

    Either our guys playing Taliban and couldn’t find a PKM, or our enemies are getting much better funding than we thought……

  • galloglas

    Catch the tali bass turd and execute him with the M-240 G or B.

  • Smitty

    I don’t know nothing about modern weapons, we qualified with the M1 Grand when I went in and were using the original M16 when I got out but several posts seem to offer reasonable answers as to why…..Captured or hijacked from a supply convey in Pakistan sound reasonable…. I found dead enemy soldiers with M16’s in Vietnam. Taken from dead Marines or bought on the black market I suspected at the time but by then ARVN troops were being issued M16’s so it could have been his brother in laws rifle, who knows….I didn’t care anyway because we ourselves collected the dead enemy’s weapons and turned then in (most of the time that is ;-) to prevent them from being used by our enemy again ~screw them~ I’m sure they felt the same way as us.

  • Taliban GQ Photo

    Are we even CERTAIN that these are “insurgents” and not some ragtag ANA without issued uniforms, or some ragtag warlord’s militia? …or some… blah, blah, blah.

    Evidence points to a staged photo, anyway. I am not certain that an insurgent force would really field its “prestige” weapons (I.E. real ones captured from U.S. forces), as those are usually clearly photo-op weapons.

    Osama had an AKS-74 ‘Krinkov’ in the backgrounds of his videos as his “prestige” weapon, Zarqawi has an M249 SAW in his “action shots” as his prestige weapon, and an M4 with M203 in the background of his still videos as his “prestige” weapon.

    My bet, if it IS indeed a “bad guy”, is that this was a posed photo op with a group of a$$holes and their group’s “prestige” weapon.

    • FakePhoto

      True… True…

      Actually, I would not put it past a media photographer to have “dressed up” some afghan yokels off of the streets in a way that they “thought” a “bad guy” should look. The more I look at it, te more that everything in the photo screams ‘phony’, like some 13 year old was trying to make a “realistic” Afghanistan movie in his backyard.

      P.S. The associated press is ghey.

  • CraigProvedGay

    Craig, you are a homo.

  • iraqvet08

    The whole thing does look staged. The question which remains is who staged the photo. The “hajis'” skin do not appear dark enough- looks more like white people.

  • Craig

    Why? because my interest in military and firearms extends to airsoft, or because I gave his ridiculous post the reply it deserves?

  • theCelt

    OK I admit it – it was me with my airsoft gun last week.

    Personally, I think it’s more likely to be posed than to be the M240 off of a SEAL team.

    Like others said, these guys clothes are way too clean to take them serious. These guys don’t look like legitimate Taliban dudes to me. The M240, the shiny clothes, the guys boots, none of it looks right.

    Not that I’m a professional or anything.

  • theCelt

    Ha, I just said the same thing.

  • Kafka

    OPSEC, dude. Take the post down now please.

  • TygeRInfantrY

    Sorry guys, not to sound like a subject matter expert or anything but for those that have had contact with the Muj or the Haj because there is a difference, despite what U might think, KNOW that these f*ckers aren’t much for maintaining their weapons, much less themselves! This looks way too much like a staged photo op. wether for propaganda purposes or for their own agenda, this is most likely a group of ANA afterwork while performing their “extra-curricular” activities….the cleanliness is way over-stated here. No self-hating Muj would maintain that 240B in that condition. It is indeed a 240b without the heat shield(cover) with the rail. Nobody who’s had to work with these day in and day out would fail to recognize it. Also, another clue, look at the “mamba”like sling with coyote brown padding. That screams of OP-FOR of some sort….and in 5 years in the Army I never saw a hint of Coyote brown on any regulation gear. It was almost frowned upon….trust me I had a coyote tan m67 pouch and kept getting sh*t from my chain for having it on my Rack! I’m not so sure this could be a legit photo.

  • colacp

    The embed reporter, weapon condition, camel pack, boots, dudes in the background. It all hits to a staged photo. I’m guessing either a reporter looking for a break, or operators of some sort. Especially considering how the guys in the background aren’t hiding their faces, but the guys up front are.

  • USMCLt

    What OPSEC is in that you clot?

  • disGRUNTled

    I deployed with 3rd Bn 6th Mar last year for Operation Moshtarak in Marjah. The enemy had all sorts of crazy weapons. We confiscated a M1917 American Enfield, an ANCIENT Lee Enfield that had to be turn of the century aged, and my squad got fired at by a grenade launcher of some sort (probably 203, I doubt it was a russian GP). I have been shot at on different occaisions by an M249 (and not the same guy or gun or even location either). When I was in Iraq we even had a confiscated FN FNC they somehow had gotten their hands on.

    The ANA all use brand spanking new M16A2s, M249s (so new they had upgraded bipods and feed-trays that are better and newer than ours), M240s, M203s, and even some sort of Remington 700 sniper rifle variant (may have been actual M24s but couldn’t distinguish it). There are a lot of ANA scumbags who would gladly sell their weapon or just ditch it. Not to mention they have zero vigilance and could easily get killed and have their gear taken. So the Taliban/Al Qaeda having M240s (one of the most common medium mgs in the world) is not a shock at all.

  • DocRock

    In my personal opinion i would say these guys are ANA/ANP/ASG….If you look at the head dress of the guy way in the back it is typical of a village eler, they are possibly asg security guards for a district or provincial gov….These guys typically cover up because they often live near where they work and dont want family killed by talibs… Havin served in kunar province right near where this photo was taken it seems very typical of and event like that.

  • aceofpyro

    Could be Chinese copy made for Pakistan, the Chinese make every thing from Mp5 to M-14s, to Ar-15 to Remington 870s types, they even have 1911 to Glock knock offs, remember in manufacturing all you need id 1 to make an a million copies

  • I was a Marine 240 gunner in Afghanistan Helmand Province in 2010. and that is 100% a M240B without a heatshield. Our ANA were starting to recieve M249’s and both models of M240’s used by U.S. infantry

    -M240B all have the rail system seen in the photo just behind the bipod, a gas plug with 1 setting, and a hydraulic buffer which reduces recoil for greater accuracy, and produces tighter round groupings.
    -The “Golf”, M240G has none of these. It has a gas plug with 3 settings, one of which gives it a higher rate of fire than a Bravo.
    -Both could have the heat shield attached if issued with one, but those who are very familiar with this weapon know it does nothing but make a barrel difficult to change. This is why ,in almost all cases you will never see the 240 with a heatshield.
    M240G was the USMC model until a few years ago when it was replaced with the M240B. Which was known as the US Army model.

  • In my opinion, being a Marine 240 gunner with 3rdBn 1stMar in Helmand in 2010, that is 100% a M240B but it looks way to clean, and the sling is the same exact one I was issued before I went over which I believe is made by BlackHawk. Ive seen ANA with brand new 249’s and old M240B’s attached to there moondust colored pickup trucks. So the dude is probably ANA, or a weapon that ANA had. Most ANA dont respect their weapons like U.S. Military, the “03xx” the choice of those wanting to learn a certain group of weapons, making ones who get to, more than able

  • I am not surprised by the fact of them carrying U.S. weapons. A country that if you’ve fought in, you realize is living in a time that has never been effected by technology. Most of the locals dont even that 9/11 happened, or what the hell it is. They only thing they know is the weapons we carry make good taliban photos or video that piss us off. But ….It has a mark on the buttstock usually given for ID when in an Armory. So its either staged, ANA, weapons provided by ANA, or 240 with a sling I used, lookin cleaner on the outside, than any 240 ive seen in my AO. That own cleaner and newer clothes than any local ive ever seen in person. Dude with the boots and AK lookin thing shouldered like ANA, with a “parade sling” which is what it looks like other ppl are thinkin camel bak….

  • Murphree

    I blame this on ANA. Sensitive Items are top priority with us forces.

  • zakk

    the 1913 rail on top of the feed cover is a give away that it is a bravo. when I was in iraq we took an m240C (right hand feed, modded stock and pistol grip. Its the coax from a brad or LAV. the left hand feed 240Cs are from the M1 tank family.) of off the SOI it had no stock lol. They had it mounted at one of their check points. they’re supposed to be friendlies….

  • dan

    I am writing a book on the P1913/M1917 bayonet. I have anecdotal reports of the bayonet (and rifle) showing up in Iraq/Afghanistan but am looking for a photo or more complete story. Also, the bayonet was used on shotguns with the bayonet attachment. Same question: can you help me to authenticate the stories? Thanks, Dan