Posted By lex, on August 6th, 2011
A very heavy blow * in Afghanistan:
Thirty-one US special forces and seven Afghans died when the Taliban shot down their helicopter, officials said Saturday, the deadliest incident yet for foreign troops in a decade-long war.
All were killed during an anti-Taliban operation late Friday when a rocket fired by the insurgents struck their Chinook helicopter in Wardak province, southwest of the capital Kabul, as they prepared to leave after a firefight.
The Friday night strike was by far the worst to hit foreign soldiers since American and other international forces invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
The previous biggest death toll saw 16 American soldiers killed in 2005 when a Taliban rocket hit their Chinook in the eastern province of Kunar.
One man who said he witnessed Friday’s crash, Mohammad Saber, told AFP that the helicopter plummeted during a late-night operation in his village.
“At around 10:00pm last night (1730 GMT), we heard helicopters flying over us,” he said.
“We were at home. We saw one of the helicopters land on the roof of a house of a Taliban commander, then shooting started.
“The helicopter later took off but soon after taking off it went down and crashed. There were other helicopters flying as well…”
“The US chopper that crashed last night was shot down by the Taliban as it was taking off,” he said. “A rocket fired by the insurgents hit it and completely destroyed it.”
A night-time catastrophic hit with a “rocket” is pretty unlikely, unless that rocket had a guidance system, in which case we’d call it a Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPAD) rather than a rocket. The Stinger missiles that the US provided the Afghan mujahedin back in the 80′s are well beyond their service lives.
I’d sure like to know who is providing the Taliban this technology now, there’s a reckoning due.
Salute to fallen heroes, and prayers for those they left behind.
Update: What you can do –
Donations to the NavySEALFoundation.org will go directly to defray the costs associated with bringing families to the East Coast and continue support to the families of the fallen. (The NSWFoundation and the SEAL Warrior Fund merged in January 2011.)
03-05-21 – Original link gone; no exact match found – Ed.