Chinook Helicopter Down in Afghanistan

Up to 20 on US chopper down in Afghanistan-official (Reuters)

A big U.S. military Chinook helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan on Tuesday was carrying between 15 and 20 American troops, according to preliminary reports, a U.S. defense official said.

There was no immediate indication of the fate of the passengers or the cause of the crash, according to the U.S. military. But an Afghan official said that a rocket was fired at the helicopter. “A rocket was fired at an American helicopter in the district,” said the official in Kunar province, who requested anonymity.

U.S. Helicopter in Afghanistan Down, Bearing 15-20 Aboard (NYT)

An American military helicopter transporting Special Operations troops crashed Tuesday in a rugged area of eastern Afghanistan where fighting is going on, military officials said. The MH-47 helicopter was carrying 15 to 20 people, including a team of Navy Seal commandos, when it went down near the city of Asadabad in Kunar Province, but the number of casualties and the cause of the crash were unknown, the officials said.

The officials based their explanations on preliminary reports, and did not want to be identified because complete details had not been officially released by the Pentagon. An Afghan man claiming to be a spokesman for the Taliban movement, Mullah Latif Hakimi, told The Associated Press that Taliban fighters had shot down the aircraft. The provincial governor, Asadullah Wafa, also said the Taliban were responsible.

It would be bitter irony indeed if the Taliban shot down the helicopter, since the first came to Americans’ attention in their war with the Soviets, during which they used U.S. supplied Stinger missiles to shoot down Soviet HIND helicopters. Of course, it doesn’t take much for a Chinook to get taken down, they can barely fly to begin with.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Military Affairs, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.