Coalition forces embroiled in a firefight with insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday had called for assistance, but instead had to race to the crash scene of a downed NATO helicopter carrying their reinforcements, officials said Monday.
Everyone inside the CH-47 Chinook was killed, marking the worst single-day loss of American life since the beginning of the Afghan war, NATO reported.
The inbound helicopter - loaded with 30 U.S. service members, a civilian interpreter and seven Afghan troops - crashed after being "reportedly fired on by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade," the statement said.
Twenty-five of those on board were U.S. special operations forces, including 22 Navy SEALs. Five air crew members were also on board.
Until Monday, military officials had been largely tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the crash, which occurred in the rugged Tangi Valley area of Wardak province, about 60 miles southwest of Kabul.
U.S. President Barack Obama is also expected to make a statement to reporters Monday that will include comments about the loss of the 30 U.S. service members, a White House official said.
The events leading up to the crash began when insurgents - armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 assault rifles - engaged in small arms fire with coalition forces on the ground, NATO reported. ISAF forces were carrying out an operation targeting a known Taliban leader in the area.FULL STORY