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 today.
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 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.
Those killed included 22 members of the elite Navy Seals; three Air Force special operations personnel; an Army helicopter crew of five; seven Afghan commandos; and a civilian Afghan translator. It was the greatest loss of American life in a single day in the almost 10 years of the war.