The military is launching an investigation into a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan that killed 30 Special Operations forces, 22 of them Navy SEALs, and 8 Afghans, according to The Associated Press.
The investigation will address, among other things, why a Chinook helicopter was dispatched to assist other U.S. soldiers pinned down in a firefight. The helicopter was reportedly shot down by an insurgent with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and reports have surfaced that the Taliban may have set a trap to lure American forces there.
Those allegations also raise the prospect of Pakistanis colluding with the Taliban in order to provide information about American plans. A senior Afghan official, who spoke to the Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity, said that four Pakistanis helped Tahir carry out the strike, which was initiated when a Taliban commander tipped forces off that a Taliban meeting was occuring.
"Now it's confirmed that the helicopter was shot down and it was a trap that was set by a Taliban commander," the official said, citing intelligence gathered from the area. "The Taliban knew which route the helicopter would take."
The announcement of the probe came on the same day that two C-17 aircraft arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware bearing the remains of the fallen soldiers. The military has declined to release the names of those killed, saying that the nature of the missions they conducted as Special Operations troops merits a high level of secrecy.
The fact that all of the troops aboard the helicopter were Special Operations underscored the growing role of special ops in conducting the targeted attacks that are a cruz of counterinsurgency .