Wednesday, October 28, 2009

OEF Update, Oct. 28, 2009: Helicopter Incident Update; Force Operations; ISAF Casualties

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 28, 2009 -- U.S. military authorities have determined that the cause of the Oct. 26 MH-47 helicopter incident in Badghis province was a combination of factors caused by very low visibility.

The crash killed seven U.S. servicemembers and three U.S. civilians. The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 in the morning when the helicopter lifted off following a successful operation against militants. Thick dust stirred up from the initial takeoff and overwhelmed the visibility of the helicopter crew. While trying to correct the aircraft's movement, it struck a tall structure, causing it to crash. Militants did not fire at the helicopter at any point during the departure or crash.

In the hours prior to the crash, ANSF, ISAF and Drug Enforcement Agency members were conducting a mission to disrupt arms smuggling and narcotics trafficking in the Darreh-ye Bum Village, Qadis district, where finances from this illegal activity provide support for the insurgency.

No civilian casualties were reported during the operation or the crash. The names of the deceased servicemembers will be released pending the notification of next-of-kin.

Investigation of this incident is still ongoing.

Afghan-International Security Force Operation:

An Afghan and international security force detained several suspected militants in Saydabad district, Wardak province, after conducting two separate compound searches in different locations today.

The first compound is known to be used by a Taliban commander who is also an improvised explosive device facilitator. The second compound is known to be used by a Taliban enabler. Both militants are believed to be responsible for several attacks and for supplying improvised explosive devices to other militant groups in the region.

The first search was conducted near the village of Belangash. The joint force detained several militants one of whom was disguised as a woman and is believed to be the sought-after Taliban commander and IED facilitator.

During the second compound search, near Maru village, the joint security force detained a couple of militants, with one surrendering immediately and identifying himself as the Taliban enabler.

Both searches were conducted without incident. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

ISAF Casualties:

Yesterday's OEF Update reported the deaths of eight U.S. servicemembers and one Afghan civilian during the past 24 hours.

(Compiled from NATO International Security Assistance Force news releases.)

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