August 8th, 2011
11:40 AM ET

NATO: Downed chopper reportedly fired on by rocket-propelled grenade

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.

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  1. saywhat

    That is absurd.
    Copters and specially the larger Chinooks flying in Afghan skies have always been & will remain a target, sometimes the enemy gets lucky.
    There are no conspiracies here, its a war in case you have forgotten.
    It was a strategic mistake to get so many Special Op men into one lumbering target.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • In the Know

      Unfortunately the CH-47 is one of the only helicopters that can navigate those mountains. I wouldn't call it a strategic mistake as its really the only way to transport troops quickly there.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz's Mother

    @ saywhat... yes and unfortunately for the Families their the only ones who will really suffer!

    August 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mel

    The lost of U.S. military soldiers was the result of poor leadership.. Everyone Military officers) knows that when a unit is pinned down you call in an air strike to suppress the area. You can't tell me that their were no airplanes in the area, I know better.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Justen beiber

    Vietnam war was a real war. This war is a joke and people make a big deal out of a few dead soldiers. Look at the death rate in ww1 and ww2

    Dint say this current war is the deadliest. Media sucks.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    Hmm. Just so's I got it right – the Navy seal guys are now doing air infantry duty? and the air force special ops (from different story) likewise? Where's the 7th Cav when you need them?

    I don't believe a word of the story. Since when does the US admit to massive losses like this? And now there's the gold-bricking: in another story the Afghan chief dick sez he thinks the Pakistanis had something to do with the ambush.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Re the vietnam war – the mortality for the viet nam war barely got above the statistical noise. It looked worse than it was because the liberal democrats (media) insisted in counting KIA all those GI's who would ordinarily die anyway of whatever non-war causes, including auto accidents, disease, suicide, drug overdoses, snakebite, drunken fights, getting et by tigers, etc. That raised the mortality by around 100%.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ajd041

    I'm still skeptical as to what brought down the helicopter but hey they're big and sometimes the enemy gets lucky

    August 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Weird Kar Ma

    They fired BACK after "Desert Storm" and Afghan Russia capers... and so much more....

    MY... what is the world coming to? They fired back? Well maybe a mafia led Western government with female faces of glossy advertising can help!

    August 9, 2011 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. ronvan

    Sad for sure, but, I agree there seems to be some questions or concerns about how this happened. Was the Chinook the closest to provide help for the Rangers? Why so many Spec. Ops. on one aircraft? What plans were in place to help the Rangers if they did come under fire? Arty & air support? I do not know but I guess there are no Blackhawks, Cobras or Apache's in the mix? Drones? Again, while a terrible loss,but I would be more upset to find out that the "leaders" involved just sent these guys "down range" with the understanding that "nothing" was going to happen and failed to plan for the worst!

    August 9, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. SAWolf

    Why not outfit these large helos with a trophy like system that the Israelis now deploy on their merkava's?

    August 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
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