April 9, 2009
A map locating Afghanistan's Wardak province, where 31 US special forces and seven …
ADDS DATE OF CRASH - FILE - A US Marine tries to take cover, perched on a container, …
Article: Crash adds to growing questions about war in Afghanistan
exclusive - 2 hrs 29 mins ago
Article: US hails troops killed in Afghan chopper crash
AFP - 2 hrs 44 mins ago
Article: Obama mourns dead in likely Afghan shoot-down
AP - 33 mins ago
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops, most of them from the elite Navy SEALs unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, along with seven Afghan commandos. It was the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.
The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene. A senior U.S. administration official in Washington said the craft was apparently shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.
NATO confirmed the overnight crash took place and that there "was enemy activity in the area." But it said it was still investigating the cause and conducting a recovery operation at the site. It did not release details or casualty figures.
"We are in the process of accessing the facts," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman.
One current and one former U.S. official said that the dead included more than 20 Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six, the unit that carried out the raid in Pakistan in May that killed bin Laden. They were being flown by acrew of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because families are still being notified.
President Barack Obama mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that the crash serves as a reminder of the "extraordinary sacrifices" being made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned "the Afghans who died alongside our troops."
The death toll would surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 — the June 28, 2005 downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue four SEALs under attack by the Taliban. Three of the SEALs being rescued were also killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.
With its steep mountain ranges, providing shelter for militants armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, eastern Afghanistan is hazardous terrain for military aircraft. Large, slow-moving air transport carriers like the CH-47 Chinook are particularly vulnerable, often forced to ease their way through sheer valleys where insurgents can achieve more level lines of fire from mountainsides.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday gave the first public word of the new crash, saying in a statement that "a NATO helicopter crashed last night in Wardak province" and that 31 American special operations troops were killed. He expressed his condolences to President Barack Obama.
The helicopter was a twin-rotor Chinook, said an official at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was receiving his information from an Afghan officer in Kabul.
The crash took place in the Sayd Abad district of Wardak province, said a provincial government spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid. The volatile region borders the province of Kabul where the Afghan capital is located and is known for its strong Taliban presence.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that Taliban fighters downed the helicopter during a "heavy raid" in Sayd Abad. He said NATO attacked a house in Sayd Abad where insurgent fighters were gathering Friday night. During the battle, the fighters shot down the helicopter, killing 31 Americans and seven Afghans, he said, adding that eight insurgents were killed in the fight.
There have been at least 17 coalition and Afghan aircraft crashes in Afghanistan this year.
Most of the crashes were attributed to pilot errors, weather conditions or mechanical failures. However, the coalition has confirmed that at least one CH-47F Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade on July 25. Two coalition crew members were injured in that attack.
Meanwhile, in the southern Helmand province, an Afghan government official said Saturday that NATO troops attacked a house and inadvertently killed eight members of a family, including women and children.
NATO said that Taliban fighters fired rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire at coalition troops during a patrol Friday in the Nad Ali district.
"Coalition forces responded with small arms fire and as the incident continued, an air strike was employed against the insurgent position," said Brockhoff. He added that NATO sent a delegation to meet with local leaders and investigate the incident.
Nad Ali district police chief Shadi Khan said civilians died in the bombardment but that it was unknown how many insurgents were killed.
Helmand, a Taliban stronghold, is the deadliest province in Afghanistan for international troops.
NATO has come under harsh criticism in the past for accidentally killing civilians during operations against suspected insurgents. However, civilian death tallies by the United Nations show the insurgency is responsible for most war casualties involving noncombatants.
In south Afghanistan, NATO said two coalition service member were killed, one on Friday and another on Saturday. The international alliance did not release further details.
With the casualties from the helicopter crash, the deaths bring to 365 the number of coalition troops killed this year in Afghanistan and 42 this month.
April 9, 2009
February 23, 2011
US destroys its best men to keep the secret?
Quote, "'Copter tragedy marks deadliest US day'
Tue Aug 9, 2011 6:37PM GMT
Interview with Finian Cunningham from Global Research
Press TV has conducted an interview with Finian Cunningham, Global Research to further talk over the issue. The following is a rough transcript of the interview.
Press TV interviewed Finian Cunningham, Global Research, from Belfast, on this issue.
Press TV: Dead Men Don't talk, that is the title of your article. Correct me if I'm wrong, you are trying to say that the US has destroyed its own men, the navy seals, who seemingly took part in Washington's bin Laden execution hoax, and presumably would testify about that operation? How can this argument to be proven?
Cunningham: Well, admittedly I do not have the answers to that but I think what I am trying to do in the article is to raise relevant speculative questions about the whole Bin Laden affair.
This is just one more hole in Washington's argument or allegation that they killed Bin Laden on the second of May. Their story is full of holes and contradictions - the nature of his death, how his body was disposed of, lack of evidence.
And now recently on Pakistani television, you have local people giving a version of events that happened in Abbottabad that completely contradicts what the Washington version of that incident was.
People were saying one of three US helicopters exploded, killing everybody on board. So how can Bin Laden's body be recovered and dumped at see if that helicopter did in fact blow up, according to the residents of Abbottabad?
The whole Washington story in my view is very dubious. There's a lot of contradictions in it. The people who could shed light on this will actually be the people that were involved; this team of six navy seals. And a whole cohort of them was wiped off this past Saturday in a rocket attack on their helicopter.
It just raises the question, is Washington hiding from something, are they trying to cover something up by this alleged assassination of Bin Laden in May, because a lot of informed sources will tell you that Bin Laden died ten years ago from natural causes, kidney failure.
The whole sag is becoming increasingly incredulous in my view and for other people. It would appear that Washington is trying to cover up or delete possible evidence or witnesses to the actual event on the second of May in Abbottabad.
Press TV: Suppose your story comes out true. What effects would this story have on the morale of other US troops if they know that the government would betray them all along?
Cunningham: Devastating. The whole war in Afghanistan is going from one quagmire into a deeper quagmire. This year alone, 274 US personnel have been killed including the latest victims of the Chinook crash. And we are only halfway through the year.
The whole mission of Afghanistan is turning into an endless relentless war with no real purpose to it.
If the American government is correct that they killed Bin Laden, he is the reason they went into Afghanistan. If they killed their guy, their number one terrorist, why are they still in Afghanistan?
The whole mission seems to be ridden with very obscure and amorphous objectives. There is no purpose to missions, so I am sure for a lot of the GIs and the American personal on the ground seeing all their comrades being cut down there, with no clear purpose or objective to this terrible bloody war, it's going to be a very soul-sapping and demoralizing experience.
Press TV:The original purpose of US invading Afghanistan was bringing down the Taliban. Some stories of diverting pentagon money and arms to the Taliban or secret negotiations with the Taliban contradicting that. In the long run, what effect will this have on the Afghanistan mission?
Cunningham: I haven't been following what you just mentioned there but this comes as no surprise giving the origins of the Taliban being in Afghanistan. After all, they were set up and funded by the Americans and the British secret intelligences to fight the soviets.
The connections are well grinded there for this covert seeding of money, arms, personnel and double agents or what have you. So it would come to no surprise given the origins of the insurgence, Mujahedeen, Taliban in Afghanistan. They were the foot soldiers of the US Empire 30-40 years ago.
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