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September 19, 2012

Taliban Commander Arrested for Shooting Down US Chopper

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Written by: BNO News
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An OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter from the 1st Infantry Division. (Photo by SSgt Shane A. Cuomo/US Army)

Afghan and coalition forces on Sunday arrested a Taliban commander who allegedly coordinated an attack against a coalition helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, killing two American soldiers, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Monday.

The commander was taken into custody by a joint Afghan and coalition security force in eastern Afghanistan. ISAF said the commander and his insurgent cell are believed to have coordinated an attack against a coalition helicopter in eastern Afghanistan earlier this month, causing it to crash and killing both service members on board.

“The security force also detained one suspected insurgent and seized improvised explosive device components and Taliban-associated materials during this operation,” ISAF said, adding that no civilians were harmed during Sunday’s operation. It did not say where in eastern Afghanistan the operation took place.

Earlier this month, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the crash, which occurred in Logar province on September 5 and involved an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. He said the crash set off a heavy firefight between coalition troops and Taliban insurgents, resulting in the deaths of at least two Taliban insurgents.

The two victims killed in the crash were previously identified as 31-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose L. Montenegro Jr., of Houston, Texas, and 28-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, of San Antonio, Texas. They were both assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

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