SEAL Team Six is the team that took out Osama bin Laden back in May, but the men killed were not the same men who carried out that mission.
According to CNN, the Army Chinook helicopter went down in Wardak Province and insurgents were believed to have shot it down. According to one of the officials who spoke on this “It’s a big loss [for the SEALs]. The numbers are high.” According to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, seven Afghans were killed along with the US special forces.
The Chinook went down as an Afghan and coalition force operation targeted a bomb-making cell leader in Wardak, leading to the detention of numerous insurgents Friday, according to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. It is not clear if the helicopter incident and the raid were connected.Officials are being tight-lipped due to the recovery operations at the site, which are still underway, and because family notifications are just beginning. The International Security Assistance Force spokesman Justin Brackhoff did confirm that the crash occurred, that it was in that area, but would provide no other information. The US Embassy in Kabul said that the helicopter went down Friday evening, and said that ISAF “is still assessing the circumstances that resulted in these deaths.”
The Taliban claimed militants downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Mohammad Hazrat Janan, head of the provincial council, said Tangi village elders reported that insurgents shot at the craft when it was returning from an operation.
Afghan Defense Ministry Spokesman Zahir Azimi has stated that it is too early to confirm if the Taliban caused the crash and has called for an investigation. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen stated “Information is still coming in about this incident. I think it’s important that we allow investigators to do their work before jumping to too many conclusions. It’s also important that we respect the process of notifying family members, no matter how long that takes. We ought to remember that the troops we lose in this war aren’t just statistics or numbers on a wall. They were parents and siblings, and someone’s child. We need to make sure we do all we can to comfort and support the families whose lives are now forever changed.”
President Obama was notified of the incident at around 8 pm Friday. According to one source, the team included some 22 SEALs, three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan Army troops, a dog and his handler, a civilian interpreter and the helicopter crew. It is believed to be the largest single number of deaths for Team Six in its history.