US Central Command has released the findings of its investigation into the downing of a CH-47 Chinook in Afghanistan’s Wardak province in August that resulted in the deaths of 38 US and Afghan troops, including 17 Navy SEALs. The unclassified version of the report is available at CENTCOM’s website, and can be viewed here, in PDF format.
There are no surprises in the report. The troops on the ill-fated helo were called in to help capture Qari Tahir, the Taliban’s commander for the Tangi Valley in Wardak province. The SEAL team was aiding a US Army Ranger platoon that was operating in the area. The ground commander believed the SEALs could cut off and capture Tahir, who was thought to be retreating from the Rangers. A Taliban fighter shot down the helo as it landed in an alternate landing zone with an RPG, not with a more sophisticated air-to-ground weapon as some people speculated. Also, the investigation found that the decision to place all of the troops on a single helo was “tactically sound.” From the report:
A previously undetected group of suspected Taliban fighters fired two or three RPGs in rapid succession from the tower of a two-story mud brick building approximately 220 metres south of the CH
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