Two U.S. soldiers reportedly suffered light injuries during a hard landing of a HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan early on Tuesday.
The helicopter suffered an unspecified mechanical failure during operations over the Achin District in eastern Afghanistan. No statements have been made as to whether or not the helicopter had been fired upon by members of the Taliban or ISIS-K, which are both known to operate in the area.
A U.S. HH-60 Black Hawk suffered a mechanical issue that resulted in a hard landing during operations near Achin, Nangarhar early this morning,” The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan said in a statement. “Rescue personnel safely recovered the crew. Two crew members suffered minor injuries in the landing and are receiving treatment at a coalition medical facility.”
The aircraft is being recovered and the incident is under investigation.
The Taliban, however, issued a counter statement claiming that they opened fire on the aircraft and killed everyone inside, highlighting the trend of terrorist organizations like the Taliban exaggerating claims of damages incurred during their attacks, or even their involvement whatsoever. This methodology has been employed with a fair amount of success by another Islamist extremist organization, the Islamic State, who claim responsibility for attacks conducted by lone wolf terrorists with no formal ties to the organization all over the world.
The U.S. soldiers were safely recovered from the scene of the hard landing, however, the region they went down in is known to harbor hundreds of Taliban and ISIS fighters. ISIS-K, or the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate located in the region, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul on Monday.
President Trump has yet to make a formal announcement regarding a new strategy in Afghanistan, but in the months since he took office, the United States has conducted a number of operations within the nation aimed at eliminating ISIS from Afghanistan. In April of this year alone, a joint raid conducted by Army Rangers and Afghan commandos successfully killed the leader of ISIS-K in Afghanistan, Sheikh Abdul Hasib, and the U.S. military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in the arsenal, the MOAB on another nearby target. The MOAB strike alone was believed to kill as many as 94 ISIS fighters hiding out in a subterranean cave complex they had employed to ambush American Special Forces weeks prior, killing one special operations soldier, Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, in the process.
Last month, the Pentagon announced that they had successfully killed Hasib’s replacement as the head of the terrorist organization in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, in an air strike that also killed a number of other ISIS-K leaders.
ISIS threatens America in the west because of its commitment to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks and its ability to recruit, move and finance the terrorists who commit these attacks,” Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said at the time. “The terrorists have been very clear in their propaganda… They want to recruit and attack globally.”
Fighting in Afghanistan was characterized as a “stalemate” by U.S. officials earlier this year, prompting a push for an increase in foreign troops to the region. President Trump has authorized American Defense Secretary James Mattis more authority over troop count in the nation since, and a number of other NATO allies have begun pledging their increased support as well.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia