Navy Seals from the elite unit which assassinated Osama bin Laden were among 31 killed by the Taliban yesterday.
The enemy gained a bloodyrevenge when they shot down a helicopter carrying the US special forces troops in Afghanistan.
A Taliban rocket blew theirChinook chopper out of the sky as it flew the servicemen back to base after a raid.
Last night it emerged more than 20 of the Seals killed were from the same crack anti-terror team that carried out the hit on the al-Qaeda leader at his Pakistan hideout in May. The Seals did not lose a single man during that mission – but yesterday’s deaths represent the biggest single loss of US lives in Afghanistan since the war there began in 2001.
Boasting of the attack, a Taliban spokesman sneered about USsoldiers having to “carry away parts of their plane and shattered pieces of their bodies”.
White House sources were still investigating but admitted the Chinook appeared to have been shot down by insurgents.
Nato also confirmed there had been “enemy activity in the area”.
Seven Afghan troops working with the Americans were also killed in the attack, which came as they were returning to their camp in Wardak province after carrying out an overnight assault which had killed eight Taliban fighters.
The Taliban spokesman added: “We destroyed their helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.”
The devastating loss comes just weeks after President Obamaannounced all US forces would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
But yesterday’s deaths will fuel demand in the States for an even earlier end to an unpopular war. Colonel Richard Kemp, ex-British commander in Afghanistan, said: “This is a significant blow. It should not have a significant impact on the campaign but the worst effect might be its impact on public opinion back in America.”
Mr Obama said the deaths were a reminder of “the extraordinary sacrifices” made by the US military, adding: “We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country.”
Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/most-popular/headlines/2011/08/07/taliban-shoot-down-helicopter-with-deaths-of-31-us-seals-from-unit-which-killed-bin-laden-115875-23325139/#ixzz1UIDQ0Euz
Go Camping for 95p! Vouchers collectable in the Daily and Sunday Mirror until 11th August . Click here for more information