NATO: Taliban Rocket Likely Downed Helicopter

Officials working to recover every single piece
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2011 12:06 PM CDT
A US Marine tries to take cover as a Chinook helicopter arrives to pick up supplies at Forward Operating Base Edi in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan, in this June 9, 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

(Newser) – The helicopter that crashed over the weekend in Afghanistan, killing 30 US troops and eight others, was likely shot down by a Taliban rocket, NATO forces said today. Though the Taliban was quick to claim responsibility, Western officials had been tight-lipped until today's announcement, Reuters notes. The Navy SEALs and other service members in the helicopter were on their way to assist other troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) when the copter was shot down.

The ISAF troops were searching for a Taliban leader in the Tangi Valley, about 50 miles from Kabul, when they were fired on by insurgents and called to request assistance.
The inbound copter was fired on "by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade while transporting the US service members and commandos to the scene of an ongoing engagement," reads the ISAF statement. (One Afghan official tells the AFP it was all an elaborate trap.) International military forces have secured the crash site and are working to recover every single piece of the crashed copter, the AP notes. Another NATO helicopter had a hard landing today, but no casualties were reported.

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