|Rangers Raid Taliban Sites, Two Die in Cras|
Rangers Raid Taliban Sites, Two Die in Crash
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) October 22, 2001 -- Two Army rangers were killed Oct. 19 in a helicopter accident in Pakistan, the same night that rangers and special forces conducted raids on an airfield in southern Afghanistan and another Taliban complex near Kandahar.
Spc. Jonn J. Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Pfc. Kristofor T. Stonesifer, 28, of Missoula, Mont. , were killed. Three others were injured when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.Hostile fire has been ruled out as a cause of the crash, DoD officials said, adding that the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
"Any claims (by the Taliban) that they shot this helicopter down are absolutely false," said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a news briefing. "This is being classified as an aircraft mishap and it will be investigated as such..." "This was a middle of the night landing," Myers said. "There was a significant amount of dust ... close to the ground, the rotor wash brings up the dust and makes landing very, very difficult," Myers said. "We think that had something to do with it, but it's going to be up to the mishap investigation board to tell us finally."
Myers offered his condolences to the families of those killed.
"They and all who are participating in Operation Enduring Freedom are heroes. They put their lives on the line on behalf of freedom and on behalf of America, and they do it each and every day."
The same night of the helicopter crash, U.S. forces attacked two Taliban facilities inside Afghanistan. Troops jumped from a C-130 into southern Afghanistan. Other aircraft were also involved in the operation, Myers said, adding that the two Taliban facilities hit "were fairly far apart."
Soldiers cleared an airfield building by building, Myers said, and at one point the troops come across a small weapons cache including rocket-propelled grenades, a machine gun and ammunition. These weapons were destroyed, he said. "One of the things that I simply can't do is talk about any of the tactics, techniques and procedures that we use beyond what you've seen on that tape," Myers said after showing news reporters a videotape of troops at the airfield shot using night vision equipment.
Troops were met by light resistance both at the airfield and at the other Taliban command and control facility near the town of Kandahar, Myers said.
Two paratroopers were injured in the jump, Myers said, adding that their injuries were "not life-threatening" "And there were casualties on the other side," Myers said, "the exact number we do not know yet."
"The mission overall was successful, Myers said. "We accomplished our objectives."
"One of the primary reasons we conducted these missions on these two objectives was to gather intelligence," Myers said, "and we are in the process of evaluating the intelligence that we brought out."
Aircraft strikes also continued over the weekend on anti-aircraft sites, ammunition and vehicle storage depots, and military training facilities in Afghanistan, Myers said.. Several C-17s also dropped rations into Afghanistan over the weekend, Myers said, bringing the total number of rations delivered via air drops to about 700,000.