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Late last Friday night, special forces troops from the NATO-led coalition launched an operation to capture a Taliban leader in an inaccessible valley southwest of Kabul.

A few hours later 38 troops — 30 of them Americans — lay dead in a transport helicopter destroyed in the worst single incident suffered by foreign forces in 10 years of war in Afghanistan.

Little, if any, information was available soon after the crash, mainly because “a cone of silence had been ordered from the top,” one senior military official said.

Reuters has been able to reconstruct a clearer picture of the circumstances of the crash after interviews with officials from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the U.S. military.

Unless identified, all spoke on condition of anonymity because investigations are still being carried out.

Read the rest of Paul Tait’s article at Reuters.

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