30 American troops, one civilian interpreter and 7 Afghan commandos were killed this morning when insurgents fired on their helicopter, causing it to crash. 22 of those American’s were NAVY SEALs.This comes just 6 months after the Navy SEALs brought down the infamous Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. These men were not in the group that captured bin Laden, but they were from within the same unit.
The Taliban wasted no time claiming credit for the deaths, stating they’d used a rocket to bring the helicopter down during a raid on a house filled with insurgents.
“Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan,” Said president Obama in a statement today.
This lose brings the death toll of coalition troops in Afghanistan up to 365 for 2011, 42 of those deaths in this month alone.
The raid was overnight, in the Tangi Joy Zarin area of Wardak’s Sayd Abad district, close to 60 miles SW of Kabul. Forest covered mountains give good cover and the Taliban uses it as a base in spite of repeated assaults by NATO forces.
“The site of the crash, Tangi is a particularly dangerous area, the site where many of the attacks that take place are planned”, said Wardak’s Deputy Gov. Ali Ahmad Khashai. “Even with all the operations conducted there, the opposition is still active.”
The United States Army had intended to turn over its Combat Outpost Tangi to the Afghan National Security Forces in April, but the Afghans never established a permanent base there.
“We deemed it not to be strategic and closed it,” said coalition spokesman, U.S. Army Maj. Jason Waggoner. “The Taliban went in and occupied it because it was vacant.”