This information appears incomplete so far, so keep that in mind:
A NATO helicopter crashed during a battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. soldiers and 7 Afghans, the Afghan president said on Saturday, a devastating toll and easily the worst single incident for foreign troops in 10 years of war.
A brief statement from the presidential palace said the troop-carrying Chinook helicopter had crashed in Syedabad in central Maidan Wardak province, just to the west of the capital, Kabul, and identified the Americans as special forces troops.
The Taliban quickly claimed to have shot down the helicopter during a firefight, although the Islamist militant group often exaggerates incidents involving foreign troops or Afghan government targets. They also said eight insurgents had been killed in torrid fighting.
That’s a horrible news. I don’t see any statement yet from the WH.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan,” Obama said in a statement. “We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country.”
That was my feeling, too, that the info was incomplete. And it is horrible news.
@Dennis SGMM: Thanks! WTF is happening? One bad news after another.
A tragedy – my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims.
Awful. and for what? maybe killing a honcho taliban, or some other similar mission, . And not related Aq, most likely.
OBL is dead, time to stop this bloody soldiering, and let the Northern Alliance fight their civil war.
Villago Delenda Est
In general, because Chinooks are big and somewhat unwieldy, they land troops just short of an active fighting area…they’re not like the Hueys of Vietnam (think Apocalypse Now) fame that would land directly in a fire zone and drop off troops.
So I’m wondering if the Chinook was actually a fire casualty or something else happened here.
But, first reports are first reports…and should not be overly relied upon, not that this stops our media morons (see Jennifer Rubin and Al Qaida terrorism in Norway) from jumping to conclusions.
I totally agree with General Stuck – it’s time we get out of Afghanistan. It’s a never ending misery and loss for all parties.
Davis X. Machina
Moving at least as rapidly as the Taliban with their claim of responsibility, Dennis Kucinich has called for a national day of mourning.
@Villago Delenda Est: From my memory, Chinooks sometimes just drop out of the sky. Helicopters don’t fly well when something goes wrong with an engine or rotor, and “Shithooks” have two, to worry about.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Chinooks (Or “Shithooks” as we called them in Vietnam) because of their design can be impossible to get into auto-rotation. That means that a simple mechanical failure (And they’re complicated aircraft) can result in the aircraft simply falling out of the sky.
EDIT: Omnes beat me to it.
Never mind this story of more tragic pointless deaths in the pursuit of global hegemony…. LOOK OVER THERE a bunch of accountants who can’t do math said something controversial.
The president has acknowledged the crash and death toll. Terrible.
Let’s wrap this adventure up.
Villago Delenda Est
They were still called “Shithooks” when I was in the Green Machine in the 80’s.
And yes, they are mechanical marvels that are highly susceptible to catastrophic, unrecoverable failure due to the design, but the Army needed a short term cargo (and howitzer slung underneath) hauler for the battlefield. So you’ve got the Chinook.
Yikes, MSNBC is reporting that most of the soldiers killed on the chopper were SEAL Team 6.
@Villago Delenda Est: the Talibs do have manpads and stingers. they inherited them from the mujahideen in our failed proxy war with the sovs.
they took out a chopper in Helmund a while ago.
sry, Kay, but the fight-promotor freemarket media don’t give this sort of stuff much play.
dont hold your breath.
live by sword, die by the sword.
i wunner how they like martyrdom?
before the Arab Spring rolls into AfPak and we have to leave via helos from Kabul rooftops in Operation Frequent Wind Redux.
so these helicopters are the same now as they were in Vietnam? They haven’t been able to come up with an improved version in 40 years?
Just asking, know nothing about helicopters or anything to do with the military.
@Villago Delenda Est: here ya go.
pretty steep price in blood FOR FUCKING NOTHING.
looks like Keith is right.
Supply aircraft like the chinnook and Huey are rarely replaced with newer designs. Like all modern American aircrafts however the are updated. Small consolation. Such is the weird separation of powers in our militAry, that one branch is entirely dependent on helicopters and another doesn’t have the resources to commission different ideas.
@Terry Chay: but what about this?
The mujahadeen fighting the Soviets developed a technique for shooting down armoured helicopters with RPG-7 unguided rockets. The famed Stingers were not that much use, difficult to use and very few of them ever made their way into proto-Taliban hands.
The RPG-7 rockets have a safety fuze that explodes the warhead if it doesn’t hit anything in its trajectory after traveling a couple of hundred yards. In the improvised attack the shooter fires the rocket up and over the helicopter and the warhead explodes like a flak shell throwing shrapnel around. It’s a bit random so the mujihadeen would set up flak traps with a group of RPG-7s firing simultaneously at a Hind-D lured into the trap by some bait. If they had intel that a helicopter would be coming and enough time to set up such a trap then the Taliban could increase their chances of hitting something. Alternatively a single shooter got lucky, as they do.
Cue John Galt Cole spewing “see….this is why we need to get out of Afghanistan now….this is why we need Libertarian leaders to show us the way….oh and [warning concern troll ahead] should we not consider blaming Obama for all of this? Just askin is all”
@Derf: no, foo’ que Cole whinging about the slipperyslope to OIF in Libya.
you are scrambling wars here.
The Worst Person In the World
Gosh, what a surprise. People die horribly in wars.
Two and a half years after his inauguration, Mr. Obama has the blood of each of these soldiers on his hands.
Undoubtedly, after the end of his single term, he will collaborate with Dubya on a book extolling the wisdom of their awesome wars.
This is devastating, RIP to those killed. There are apparently only 2k SEALS in the entire military so for them and the special ops community this has to be an absolutely horrible day.
What bothers me more and more about the war in Afghanistan is that one, the Taliban controlled areas have creeping ever closer to Kabul. This valley, the Tangi, is apparently only a short ways from the capital. It’s one thing if places like the Korengal or the Pech and even Nuristan Province are controlled by the Taliban, they’re so far away and isolated, but this place is right down the road.
The other thing is that we’re fighting and losing soldiers in places like Helmand and Kandahar and other areas that, in any negotiated settlement with the Taliban (which everyone admits is how this will end) are likely going to have little to no Afghan government presence anyway. It’s going to end up looking like Hamburger Hill writ large, many soldiers die, and then we almost immediately give the place up anyway. I understand some of the rationale, but it seems like more and more of a tragic waste. These are issues that should have been settled years ago.
There are only 2000 SEALs in active service at the moment.
Of these, about half are on rotation in the sandbox.
Of these, over 20 are dead.
Haven’t heard from my aunt, so most likely my cousin isn’t one of them, he’s one of the other 980. Still, don’t like the odds, don’t like the risk, and wondering how many Saudi princes need transcortical lead therapy administered before he gets to stop killing people for freedom.
Is it too early to start drinking?
@PhoenixRising: I may have known someone who went down on that copter. I also haven’t heard any news yet, which is worse. Hopefully all is well with your cousin.
It’s Balloon Juice. What kind of a question is that here? :)
Paybacks are a bitch.
Why, exactly, is Seal Team Six still galavanting all over the place? Haven’t we killed OBL? Wasn’t that the ultimate “Mission Accomplished”? Why weren’t they already home and going down some New York street in a ticker-tape parade?
And, no, no one can blame BusHitlerCheneyRepub for this one. The blood is all on Obamawaristan’s hands today.
@Samara Morgan: Fuck off, terrorist scum.