“The Taliban knew which route the helicopter would take. That’s the only route, so they took position[s] on either side of the valley on mountains and as the helicopter approached, they attacked it with rockets and other modern weapons. It was a trap that was set by a Taliban commander.”
Second, a US Army insider tells Wired’s Danger Room this may have been the first use of an Improvised Rocket Assisted Mortar in Afghanistan:
The so-called “Improvised Rocket-Assisted Mortar” made its debut in Iraq in 2008, although not in attacks on aircraft. IRAMs combine traditional tube mortars with rocket boosters and, in many cases, remote triggers, allowing insurgents to fire them from a distance.
IRAMs have killed several U.S. troops in Iraq over the years, but haven’t factored heavily in the Afghanistan fighting. The weapon’s appearance in Wardak, if confirmed, could be proof of Afghan insurgents’ continued ability to adapt and innovate despite mounting losses.
Improvised rockets are notoriously inaccurate. But with bigger warheads than shoulder-fired RPGs, IRAMs are potentially much more destructive when they do hit.
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