US avenges Chinook dead with raid
The Taliban insurgents responsible for downing a US Chinook helicopter and killing 38 US and Afghan forces over the weekend have been killed themselves.
Marine Corps General John Allen said in Washington that forces learned where the insurgents had fled to and killed them in an early morning air strike.
The strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who fired the rocket-propelled grenade that downed the Chinook helicopter.
General Allen said that an F-16 airstrike on Monday took out fewer than 10 insurgents involved in the attack on the Chinook helicopter.
The military said intelligence gained on the ground provided a high degree of confidence that the insurgent who fired the grenade was the person killed. It did not provide further details.
General Allen defended the decision to send in the Chinook loaded with special operations forces to pursue insurgents escaping from the weekend firefight with Army Rangers in a dangerous region of Wardak province of eastern Afghanistan.
"We've run more than a couple of thousand of these night operations over the last year, and this is the only occasion where this has occurred," he said. "The fact that we lost this aircraft is not ... a decision point as to whether we'll use this aircraft in the future. It's not uncommon at all to use this aircraft on our special missions."
While officials believe the helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, General Allen said the military's investigation into the crash will also review whether small arms fire or other causes contributed to the crash.