CENTCOM releases findings on Chinook downed in Wardak

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

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • JAG says:

    God bless those brave SEALs and spepcial operators.
    -Your brother in arms

  • Soccer says:

    “I am told that many of the Taliban commanders who toured that base are no longer alive.”
    Who told you that, and what evidence would they have to reinforce such a belief?
    I think either way you look at it, losing a base like that in that district is not a ‘victory’ for our side.

  • Paul Hirsch says:

    Thanks for following up on this story.

  • Neonmeat says:

    “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

  • Rob Huyck says:

    I disagree with the statement that placing all the Seals on the CH-47 was “tactically sound.” It is not standard operating procedure – and you can see why it is not standard operating procedure – the report white-washes a poor decision that ran counter to Seal SOP. We lost a very expensive group of men (in terms of training and experience) and killed a couple of nobodies in return.
    Spin it as you want.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    Those Chinooks need a “cool” LZ NOT some hot spot where 40 Tier 1 Operators are a big fat target. I know the circumstances warranted this response but damn its heart breaking. Its not all that smart, but you go with wat ya got. BZ SEALS and Rangers. We will not forget.


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