Helicopter crashes have traditionally generated the largest single casualty incidents during the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Chinook helicopters can carry large numbers of passengers and have contributed to the two previous most deadly days in Afghanistan for US forces on June 28, 2005 and April 6, 2005.
If insurgents are behind the crash, how they managed to shoot down the helicopter will likely prove a point of serious concern.
Large-caliber machine guns capable of serving as anti-aircraft weapons are widely available in Afghanistan. But so far insurgents have used these to little effect against helicopters. If militants managed to target the helicopter using a surface-to-air missile, however, it will spark major concerns.
“This technology and how the Taliban have accessed it raise the question from where and from what sources were they able to get such technology,” says Waliullah Rahmani, executive director of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies. “If the Taliban is able to get regular access to these technologies, it will certainly have a significant, unfortunately dangerous effects for the future of the war in Afghanistan.”
During the Soviet Union's war here, the United States supplied Afghan fighters with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles that definitively turned the conflict against the Soviets.