U.S. Says It Killed Taliban Who Shot Down Chinook
The U.S. military says it has carried out a mission that has killed the person responsible for shooting down a Chinook helicopter and killing 30 American soldiers:
An American airstrike has killed the Taliban fighters believed responsible for shooting down a Chinook helicopter, killing 38 people including 30 American military personnel, the senior commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday.
The commander, Gen. John R. Allen of the Marines, said the military in Afghanistan had tracked the insurgents after they shot down the helicopter on Saturday, most likely with a rocket-propelled grenade.
A group of insurgents, numbering fewer than 10, were together as the location was hit by an F-16 strike, General Allen said. The airstrike occurred Sunday night into Monday, Pentagon officials said.
In a video briefing to the Pentagon from his headquarters in Kabul, General Allen said the Chinook helicopter on a weekend mission also took small arms fire as it entered the Tangi Valley in Wardak Province, just west of Kabul; an investigation has been started to determine the exact cause of the crash.
General Allen said the Taliban leader who was the target of the original mission still eludes American and allied forces; he declined to identify the Taliban leader. “We will continue to pursue that network,” he said.
The follow-up mission that killed the militants “does not ease our loss,” General Allen said.
While acknowledging that there are “challenges ahead” to the American-led mission in Afghanistan, General Allen described the shooting down of the helicopter as a single, tragic episode in a much broader campaign.
A press statement released by the military headquarters in Kabul said the airstrike killed a Taliban leader named Mullah Mohibullah, who was part of the group that shot down the helicopter and subsequently escaped.
“After an exhaustive manhunt, Special Operations forces located Mullah Mohibullah and the shooter after receiving multiple intelligence leads and tips from local citizens,” the statement said. “The two men were attempting to flee the country in order to avoid capture.”
One wonders how authorities can be sure that they got the right people, or how they’d know who specifically fired the shot that brought down the helicopter. Nonetheless, I hope its true.