SEAL Team 6 members among 38 killed in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Afghan_Kandak, Aug 7, 2011.

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  1. SEAL Team 6 members among 38 killed in Afghanistan

    The Navy SEALs were among 30 Americans, seven Afghans and an interpreter killed in the deadliest incident for U.S. forces in the Afghanistan war when their helicopter is shot down.
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    A helicopter similar to this one pictured in Afghanistan in 2004 was shot down Saturday morning, killing 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs, along with seven Afghan soldiers and an interpreter. (S. Sabawoon / European Pressphoto Agency)

    August 6, 2011, 6:57 p.m.
    Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Washington— Their name conjures up the most celebrated moment of America's post-Sept. 11 military campaigns. Now the Navy SEALs belong to a grimmer chapter in history: the most deadly incident for U.S. forces in the 10-year Afghanistan war.

    Three months after they killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan and cemented their place in military legend, the SEALs suffered a devastating loss when nearly two dozen of the elite troops were among 30 Americans who died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan early Saturday.

    It was the largest number of American troops killed in a single day in the war. U.S. officials said the helicopter appeared to have been felled by enemy fire, and the Taliban quickly claimed responsibility. Seven Afghan commandos and a civilian interpreter also were killed, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

    No member of the Bin Laden raid team was among the dead, said a Pentagon official briefed on the casualties who was not authorized to speak publicly while families still were being notified. But he said 22 of the 30 were Navy SEALs, and a significant number were members of SEAL Team 6, the unit that conducted the Bin Laden raid and is made up of just a few hundred of some of the best-trained fighters in the U.S. military.

    The loss of so many represents a significant blow to a tightknit group that is involved in some of the most sensitive U.S. counter-terrorism operations around the world.

    There was no indication that insurgents knew that many aboard the doomed Chinook were Team 6 members. But the Taliban and its allies are likely to reap an enormous propaganda boost from the deaths. The Taliban often seeks to appeal to the country's folkloric sensibilities by depicting battlefield exploits in florid fashion; videos and songs trumpet various successes against foreign "invaders," and any victory against NATO forces is held up as proof of divine inspiration and guidance.

    The downing of the U.S. helicopter in mountainous Wardak province comes at a crucial juncture of the war, as the U.S. begins a drawdown in troops in a prelude to a full-fledged withdrawal.

    The episode could embolden the insurgency at a time when Western and Afghan officials have been hoping a weakened Taliban movement can be lured to the bargaining table. Like the assassination last month of Karzai's powerful half brother, it will be viewed by many as a sign of the insurgents' reach and power.

    A statement from Karzai's office offered condolences to President Obama and the families of the Afghan troops who died.

    In the early hours Saturday, the SEALs joined other U.S. Special Operations forces on a raid in Wardak province, west of Kabul, the capital. Such is the clockwork regularity of these nighttime raids that they have become almost routine.

    But this one went horribly awry.

    A Western military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the twin-rotor CH-47 helicopter had apparently been brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade moments after takeoff from the raid, when it was most vulnerable to attack.

    White House national security advisor Tom Donilon notified Obama of the incident shortly after 8 p.m. Friday, said a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

    "Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families," Obama said in a statement Saturday. "We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied."

    Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, said: "We grieve for our lost comrades and especially for their families, yet we also remember that the lads were doing what they wanted to be doing and they knew what they were about. This loss will only make the rest of us more determined, something that may be difficult for those who aren't in the military to understand."

    The SEALs and their special operations counterparts "conduct these missions night after night knowing that every mission could be their last," said a Special Operations officer who asked not to be identified. "And despite this tragic loss for the units and our nation, tonight their brothers will board helicopters and go out and do the work our country has asked of them. And they will continue to do so without hesitation or mental reservation as they go after the enemies that would do us harm."

    Team 6, known officially as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, is overseen by the Joint Special Operations Command, which also supervises the Army's Delta Force and other elite units.

    Those commandos, working closely with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, have embarked on a significant increase in nighttime raids over the last year in Afghanistan, targeting Taliban leaders, bomb-makers and other key adversaries. It is one of the little-known stories of the Afghan war, because the raids are secret and the results are rarely announced.

    Those strikes have been the single most successful tactic employed by the Western military over the last two years, U.S. officials say, significantly damaging the field-command structure of the Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups.

    SEAL Team 6 is divided into numerous detachments that rotate into Afghanistan. The SEALs who killed Bin Laden were handpicked and considered the top members of the unit.

    They rehearsed the Bin Laden raid for weeks, but many military officials said that operation was not much different from the lesser-known raids that happen every day.

    Graphic: Chopper shot down in Wardak Province In Saturday's attack, the helicopter went down shortly after midnight in the Sayedabad district, according to Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the provincial governor. He and other provincial officials said the crash followed a firefight that had left eight insurgents dead.

    Large and slow-moving, the Chinook is vulnerable as it flies through mountains and valleys that allow insurgents clear lines of fire. Even so, helicopter shoot-downs have been rare in the Afghan conflict.

    But they have been deadly for U.S. troops. Before Saturday, the highest single-day loss for the U.S. military in Afghanistan came on June 28, 2005, when a Chinook carrying 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops was shot down in Kunar province as it tried to rescue four SEALs in a firefight. All 16 were killed in the crash, and three SEALs died on the ground.

    In a statement Saturday, the Taliban claimed its fighters had ambushed Western troops after being tipped off to an imminent night raid in the district. If true, that would amount to a devastating breach of U.S. operational security.

    The Taliban statement, from spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, was unusually specific in some of its details, including the number of troops killed — even before Afghan officials released the number. The statement also confirmed the "martyrdom" of eight of its members in what was described as fierce combat before the helicopter was shot down.

    The crash site is in Wardak's Tangi Valley, where the insurgents are active.

    The Wardak police chief, Gen. Abdul Qayuum Baqizoi, said the American strike was aimed at a clandestine meeting of insurgent figures in the village Jaw-e-Mekh Zareen, which is considered a perilous locale. "This area isn't even safe for security forces to travel in," he said.

    King reported from Kabul and Dilanian and Cloud from Washington. Times staff writer Tony Perry in Redding and special correspondents Aimal Yaqubi and Hashmat Baktash in Kabul contributed to this report.

    SEAL Team 6 members among 38 killed in Afghanistan - Page 2 -
  2. There is talk in the community that it wasn't ST6 as they don't use the Chinook nor do they work alongside other agencies, it was, they reckon a 'standard' SEAL Platoon of 16 plus atts.

    "contributor Jack Murphy is skeptical that these were ST6-ers.
    My shotgun analysis is that this wasn’t a DevGru team but a standard 16-man SEAL platoon plus attachments, in this case a half dozen Afghan commandos, dog handler, interpreter, flight crew, and pilots. It is highly unlikely that DevGru was working with indigenous soldiers, you hardly ever see Tier One units doing that. That sort of work goes to Special Forces and SEALs. Keep an eye out to see if it was a MH-47 or a CH-47 that went down, that may give you some indication."

    See more here;
  3. The 160th are the only SF aviation unit to support all Ops..including DevGru.
    Who says they wouldn't use Chinook??
    They used them on the OBL raid as follow up aircraft, opting for UH60 to get into the compound grounds.
  4. RIP to the fallen and condolences to the families and comrades. Since I am unashamedly compassionate toward dogs, I also recognize especially the loyal MWD who went down with his or her master doing his/her master's bidding and had no choice but to be there. I hope he was able to comfort his true best friend on the way in.

    If the reports coming in are now true that it was downed by an RPG on final into a tactical insert,
    I hope that there will be a legitimate inquiry as to why we had such a lucrative target like that after our experience in Mogadishu where RPGs were used in similar fashion with devastating effect.

    This brought us "Blackhawk Down"—among the lost were 2 dead Delta snipers-- MOHs notwithstanding—and visions of our fallen being dragged like carcasses through the filthy streets. It also marked the beginning of the end of that entire idiotic enterprise. The end was ignominious, where it took an entire USMC MEU(SOC) to come in to just provide enough security for our remaining forces to retreat from that God-forsaken place—all to the detriment of our international reputation and worse as a huge confidence boost to the islamists.

    I fear what caused the failure in Somalia is now happening in Afghanistan—taking the resourcefulness and lethality (even if “primitive” in comparison to our “gee whiz” technology and super-human—but not immortal—special operators) our enemy for granted—something that is more prone to happen among “elite” forces and that requires very short leashes by their ”adult” superiors (no disrespect to the special ops guys but in my personal experience that is just the way of human nature no matter how well trained and why an effective chain of command is vital).

    While being daring does often mean the difference in winning or losing (to borrow from THEM's motto) in special operations, this relates more to the principles of war of "surprise" and "objective" and certainly does not mean failing to factor in your enemy's adaptability and other attributes that can kill you just as dead as some sophisticated enemy "special" warrior.

    To be clear, I am NOT critizing this particular incident as I do not know the facts but rather reminding all of us of the immutable nature of humans--whether or not "special."
    • Like Like x 9
  5. Nice to see you back, my friend, even if it is in such circumstances.
  6. Many thanks Slip. I just heard that 4 more 'NATO troops" were KIA today. What a time......
  7. I've just sat through dinner with wife'n'kids and cautioned them that much of what is being publicly discussed as fact, appeares to be no more than conjecture.

    I am disappointed that a post by AK - a useless Herbert of the 18ct variety, as he has demonstrated adnauseam on threads various lately - and on this topic in particular, should get this degree of attention from serious arrsers.

    I'm starting with:

    1. It's a tragedy that so many good men died in one event.

    2. Afghan Kandak is the last creature on (anyone's) god's earth to have a reliable explanation for what happened.

    3. So the proper response is to doff one's hat to the fallen, and tell the parasite to **** off.

    But it's Sunday, after all, and I'm being forgiving of waywardness, on all sides.
  8. I admit to profound embarrassment as in my shock at the event I only saw the heading of the post not the identity of the poster and assumed it was the only one on the subject---thus my post.
  9. Aminor slip on a matter of detail.

    The price you pay for the sin of getting older, I guess

    A sin of which I (for one) am profoundly grateful you are guilty.

    Take one Hail Mary and a triple Jack Daniels
  10. Who can forget Somalia? The senseless loss of life both US and other. Read the book and watched the film many times including the commentary. Many lives were lost in a useless way. Was it the Somali fighters or the incorrect application of drills with the US forces. I can not comment. I asked on another thread what the impact will be on the tempo of ops in Afghanistan - decapitation being the method favoured to enable extraction of NATO forces and allow Afghan forces to take over. So many extremely capable people lost in one go, and may they RIP, but along with them, Afghan SF(?).

    People who were trusted to back up the US SF.

    The US will produce operators to replace those fallen but can Afghanistan? How will it impact on decapitation and the takeover of operations by trusted Afghan forces?

    JJH mentioned the dog. Should it have been a German Shepherd, man.s best friend, I hope it was swift.

    IMHO Irreplaceable people have been lost in so much as they were unique and met their ends before their time.


    And Somalia is back on the table...
  11. Questions:

    How did the press know members of SEAL Team 6 were on board?

    While I am saddened by any loss of Troops out there, I'm guessing that there is no coincidence that they mentioned this team. My rationale is that there is no comeback from the Bin Laden OP. No body, no chopper and no team members that did they deed. Clean.

    Tin foil hat is still on.
  12. What the **** are you telling us for?

    Thanks for clarifying that - I wasn't sure until I read your post :/

    AK posted no opinion, just copy&paste & link to reporting of the incident

    Forgiving?? Forgiving of what you ****ing retard?
  13. Thus speaks Afghan_Kandaks second cousin...

  14. A pity that a condolence thread cannot be started by anyone but A_K, the Wazir wannabe Walt.

    JJH your sentiments deserve a separate thread.

    w_m, your question is highly pertinent as it was the Afghan government, most notably the president's office that was at the forefront of this highly unpleasant and imo maliciously almost crowing dissemination, despite ISAF's attempt to hold back until NoK were informed.
  15. Did the news come via News International intercept?

    May the dead RIP and condolences to the families. And may the politicians keep their collective nerve so that the sacrifice is not in vain.