Helicopter Crash Highlights American Strategy in Afghanistan

Monday, August 08, 2011

US soldiers of the Viper Company (Bravo), 1-26 Infantry, talk to Afghan men as they conduct a house to house search operation for weapons in the Khost province of eastern Afghanistan on June 19, 2011. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty)

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a helicopter crash on Saturday, which killed 30 American troops in the deadliest day ever for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The attack took place in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province, to the west of Kabul, and illustrates how the insurgency is growing from its traditional strongholds and edging toward the capital city.

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, discusses the insurgency in Afghanistan and its effect on U.S. strategy.


Christine Fair

Produced by:

Saumya Vaishampayan

Comments [3]


To Gorgh;

I think that what made the Chinook vulnerable in this instance, was that while flying in a narrow valley, the RPG user may have been able to obtain a mostly level-fire position. Because your otherwise make some good points about the firing of an RPG at an elevated target, and the general luck involved in such a shot.

As for the terrible expense of American lives: Rather than surgical Spec. Ops raids, just carpet-bomb the insurgency areas from 50,000 feet. The collateral damage will be horrific. Too bad.

Aug. 08 2011 10:42 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

First of all, this was a terrible loss of life for the US.

On the larger point of re;relatively recent US war-making (Afpak/Iraq/even Libya):

Picking up on Prof. Fair's notion that the _wars_ having broken the economic health of of the nation; it's true. Certainly we have and still need to bolster and/or reform our social safety nets, but they can be dealt with withe smart, sensible PLANNING now looking towards the future. We are paying far too much in blood, treasures, and loss of prestige due to these wars and our misbegotten "war on terror." (Ludicrous; a putative war against a tactic.)

Secondly, hasn't history proven time and again that empires wane or fall largely by being over-extended, particularly by over-projecting their power through military adventures that they cannot support financially?

Aug. 08 2011 10:13 AM
Gorgh from karachi

Primarily RPG-7 is design for tank /bunker bursting and is also used in anti personal role against the attacker. The range of rkt for moving tgt on gr lvl is set to 300mtr due to hit probability and 500 to 600mtr for static tgt.To hit a moving tgt at gr lvl, a firer should accurately asses the distance of the tgt from the wpn/firer himself and the speed with which the tgt is moving to keep a lead cut marked inside the telescopic sight of the wpn, besides, the firer is req to fire the rkt horizontally as it as backfire safety area of 75mtr x 30 mtrs. It is surprising that Taliban could hit the Chinook heli with this inaccurate shoulder fire rkt propellent grenade in the air in vertical posn without any harm to himself in the first place. Secondly, as per the military planing /air re-enforcement support to the ground troops, the logistic line and air route for re-enforcement /un-interupted logistic supply to ground troops is carefully selected & secured. (view solicited)

Aug. 08 2011 03:02 AM

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