Two Pentagon officials told McClatchy Newspapers on Monday that an investigation into the helicopter crash that killed 30 American troops would probe whether it's a mistake to send the large, lumbering Chinook helicopter into a Taliban firefight, where it's a target for insurgents.
As the remains of the 30 troops killed in the military's deadliest incident of the Afghan war were being flown back to the United States, U.S. commanders confirmed that the servicemen were flying to the aid of American troops embroiled in a firefight when an insurgent shot down their helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.
The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan offered the first detailed account of the tragedy since the pre-dawn crash in the Tangi Valley, a Taliban-infested area of Wardak province, about 60 miles southwest of Kabul, the capital.
“The helicopter was reportedly fired on by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade while transporting the U.S. service members and commandos to the scene of an ongoing engagement,” said a statement released by the International Security Assistance Force.
The Pentagon announced that the return of the servicemen's remains, in flag-draped coffins, to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware possibly as early as Tuesday won't be open to the news media, although family members will be allowed to attend. The ceremony will be closed to the public because there were “no identifiable remains,” said Marine Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.