US forces kill Taliban responsible for SEAL helicopter crash, say Afghan officials
While the raid is unlikely to have a significant effect on the Taliban, it holds symbolic importance for the US Special Forces community.
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The group of 15 militants fled Saydabad District’s Tangi Valley immediately after the helicopter incident and took refuge in the safe house in the neighboring Chak District. Villagers say the raid took place shortly after midnight in the Siyab Dara area of Chak.Skip to next paragraph
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International and Afghan officials say their intelligence confirms the militants' involvement in the helicopter attack. Two of the people reportedly killed in the raid were prominent Taliban commanders from Tangi Valley where the helicopter was shot down. Mullah Mohibullah, the top Taliban commander in Tangi Valley, and Shafiullah, a sub-commander in Tangi Valley, were also among the dead.
"The strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who fired the shot associated with the Aug. 6 downing of the CH-47 helicopter, which resulted in the deaths of 38 Afghan and coalition service members," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
On the night of the crash, the US military was conducting an operation against insurgents in Mohibullah's Taliban cell.
"After an exhaustive manhunt, Special Operations forces located Mullah Mohibullah and the shooter after receiving multiple intelligence leads and tips from local citizens," said the ISAF in the statement.
Although US officials say they are still investigating the cause of the crash, they have officially acknowledged that insurgents fired on the Chinook with rocket-propelled grenades. There has also been speculation that insurgents may have lured the soldiers into a trap that allowed them to easily target the helicopter.
The crash killed seven Afghan commandos, a civilian interpreter, and 30 US military personnel, resulting in the largest US loss of life in a single event in nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan.
Among the US dead were 22 US Navy SEALs, many of whom were part of SEAL Team 6, which is also known as the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. DEVGRU was the team involved in the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
There are approximately 2,500 active duty SEALs, only a few hundred are selected to serve in DEVGRU. The organization is seen as one of the most elite units in the entire US military. It takes years of training that costs about $1 million to produce a single Navy SEAL.