KABUL, Afghanistan -- The U.S.-led coalition says that the 30 U.S. troops and seven Afghan soldiers who died in a weekend helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan were on a mission targeting a Taliban leader.
In a statement released Monday evening, NATO said an insurgent with a rocket-propelled grenade reportedly fired on the chopper, which was transporting the U.S. and Afghan troops to the scene of an ongoing fight between coalition forces and insurgents.
NATO says the operation began as a search for a Taliban leader responsible for insurgent operations in the Tangi Valley of Wardak province. The coalition says the ground forces saw several insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47s and called for assistance.
The helicopter crashed as it was arriving to assist.