US Army paratroopers prepare to load into a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during an air-assault mission to detain a known militant in the Bermel district of Paktika province, Afghanistan. The paratroopers are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s Company B, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. US Army photo by Private First Class Andrya Hill.
ISAF lost a helicopter in the central Afghan province of Kapisa today. One pilot was killed and another wounded after a firefight broke out at the crash site. From ISAF’s press release on the incident:
An International Security Assistance Force helicopter crashed in Alah Say district, Kapisa province, today.
As coalition rescue forces arrived at the crash site, they immediately came under enemy fire. Coalition forces returned fire with small arms and an air weapons team while working to evacuate the two crewmembers of the aircraft.
The two crewmembers were recovered by coalition forces, one died at the scene from injuries received in the crash.
Aircraft recovery operations and heavy fighting continue in the area.
The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.
The Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, the radical ally of the Taliban that is run by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, claimed that its forces shot the helicopter down. according to Dawn. The Taliban hasn’t commented on the helicopter crash on their website, Voice of Jihad, as the website is currently “under maintenance.”
While it is too early to say what caused this crash, the likelihood is that HIG shot down the ISAF helo. Regardless of the cause of the crash, the Taliban and allied groups have shot down relatively few helicopters and fixed wing aircraft since the US invaded in October 2001. Here is the list of aviation incidents in Afghanistan since 2001. According to the list, only 10 aircraft (nine military and once civilian) have been shot down by the Taliban.
For more on the Taliban’s attempts to acquire and deploy anti-aircraft systems, see Threat Matrix report, The Taliban acquisition of anti-aircraft platforms.