Propaganda? 22 Navy SEALs dead in Afghan chopper crash or Intentional murder?
Updated 4:02 p.m. ET
KABUL, Afghanistan — A helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province has killed 30 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan soldiers, the country’s president said on Saturday. It was the highest number of casualties recorded in a single incident in the decade-long war.
Insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans, U.S. officials said Saturday.
More than 20 U.S. special operations forces killed, most of them Navy SEALs, according to CBS News correspondent David Martin in Washington.
Although Martin earlier reported that they were not members of SEAL Team 6, as some reports claimed, he is now reporting that It was Navy SEAL Team 6 but no members of bin Laden raid. The total of American dead appears to be 30, and we can say they came from the Navy, Air Force and Army, most of them Navy SEALs from Team 6.
The crew of five U.S. servicemen was also killed along with seven Afghan commandos, a civilian interpreter and a dog. Bodies are being evacuated from the crash site.
President Obama offered condolences to the dead. “Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan,” said Obama in a statement. “We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied. We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country.”
President Hamid Karzai sent his condolences to President Obama, according to a statement issued by his office.
“A NATO helicopter crashed last night in Wardak province,” Karzai said in the statement, adding that 31 American special operations troops were killed. “President Karzai expressed his deep condolences because of this incident and expressed his sympathy to Barack Obama.”
NATO confirmed the overnight crash and said the alliance was conducting a recovery operation at the site and investigating the cause of the crash, but did not release details or a casualty figure. The coalition said there “was enemy activity in the area.”
“We are aware of an incident involving a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman. “We are in the process of accessing the facts.”
Of the 3o dead Americans, as many as 25 Navy SEALs died, a senior military official told ABC News. 38 people were killed in all. The New York Times reports that 22 Navy SEALs had died.
CBS News correspondent Charles D’Agata said on “The Early Show on Saturday Morning” that, “Nighttime strikes are one of the most successful ways U.S. forces have to battle Taliban hideouts, but they’re also one of the riskiest.”