Taliban claim responsibility for Blackhawk crash in Afghanistan

Insurgent forces located in Shah Wali Kot in Kandahar Province allegedly shot down the U.S. helicopter as it was heading to the area as part of an operation, Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf told The Washington Post. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“We have weapons that can hit aircraft,” Qari said. 

U.S. and NATO officials are still investigating the cause of the crash and made no official comment regarding the Taliban's claims of responsibility, according to a statement issued by International Security Assistance Force. 

"This is obviously an incident that's being investigated. We're obviously deeply saddened by the loss of life, both Americans and Afghans in this incidence," Defense Department press secretary George Little told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. 

However, International Security Assistance Force spokesperson Maj. Martyn Crighton did tell the Post that there were no indications of enemy activity in the area of the crash at the time the helicopter went down. 

"The crash resulted in the deaths of four International Security Assistance Force service members, three United States Forces-Afghanistan service members, three members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and one Afghan civilian interpreter," according to the official ISAF statement. 

The incident comes almost a year after 38 American soldiers, including members of the vaunted SEAL Team Six, were killed when insurgent fighters shot down their Chinook in Wardak Province in eastern Afghanistan. 

Last August, a 30-man quick reaction force deployed into Wardak province where Army Ranger units had come under fire while hunting down a regional Taliban leader in the area.

As the force entered the landing zone, the helicopter was hit by enemy fire, destroying the Chinook and killing all aboard. The incident was the single largest loss of American lives since the beginning of the Afghan war.