Wednesday, 9 June 2010

"Four killed as Taleban shoot down helicopter over British base" (The Times) - Is this another Vietnam?

From The Times -

"An American Blackhawk helicopter has been shot down with the loss of four servicemen in Helmand Province near the British held town of Sangin, Nato and local officials reported this morning.

The Times understands that the aircraft was attempting to pick up a British casualty earlier today when it came under fire over Forward Operating Base Jackson, close to Sangin.

Early indications are that it was brought down by a rocket propelled grenade, an unguided shoulder launched weapon often employed by Taleban militants. No British lives were lost in the incident.

British forces in Helmand are transported and resupplied by helicopters from a variety of nationalities. Supplies are also carried by helicopters contracted from a number of civilian companies. US Blackhawk casevac helicopters frequently extract British wounded, if necessary under fire.

Nato declined to identify the nationalities involved but confirmed that it was a military aircraft that was “brought down by hostile fire”.

The Taleban quickly claimed responsibility.

Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor said that the aircraft was “a coalition helicopter”. He identified Sangin as the crash site.

Sangin has seen intense fighting in recent months and is currently held by members of 40 Commando, The Royal Marines."

Many have been calling for more helicopters. In my simplistic opinion, helicopters provide more rewarding targets for the Taleban, for more of our boys get killed when a helicopter is downed than would be the case with individual IEDs. Is this wasteful 'mission' becoming more and more another Vietnam? Bring all of our boys home now.

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