NATO Airstrike Kills Insurgents Who Caused Helicopter Crash
By Dialogo August 12, 2011
Coalition forces used a precision airstrike to kill Taliban insurgents involved in the Aug. 6 downing of the helicopter carrying 30 U.S. service members and eight Afghans, the commander of U.S. and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan said.
In a briefing from his headquarters in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen told Pentagon reporters the action was a continuation of the original mission to dismantle the leadership of an enemy network in Wardak province’s Tangi Valley.
“This does not ease our loss,” Allen said. “But we must and we will continue to relentlessly pursue the enemy.”
Near midnight on 8 August, the general said, coalition forces called in a precision airstrike with F-16s over the Chak district of Wardak province. According to details released today by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) officials, the strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who fired the shot – which ISAF assessed to be a rocket-propelled grenade, Allen said – associated with the helicopter crash on 6 August.
Mohibullah was a key facilitator in an insurgent attack cell led by Din Mohammad, a Taliban leader killed in a previous special operations mission. As a leader in Mohammad’s network in the Tangi Valley, Mohibullah had as many as 12 Taliban fighters under his command, including potential suicide bombers.
Special operations forces received several intelligence leads and tips from local civilians and after an exhaustive manhunt, ISAF officials said, they determined the location of Mohibullah and the shooter as they were trying to flee the country.
The security force located and followed the insurgents to a wooded area in the Chak district. After making sure no civilians were in the area, the force called for the airstrike that killed Mohibullah, the shooter and several Taliban associates.
Allen said coalition forces intend to continue to work very hard in the south throughout the current fighting season and well into the fall and beyond.