As NATO investigates the crash of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan on Friday--which killed 38 people, including 22 Navy SEALs, in the deadliest single incident in ten years of war--suspicions are surfacing that foreign assistance helped the Taliban pull off the sophisticated attack. An unnamed Afghan official tells AFP today that a Taliban commander and four Pakistanis laid an "elaborate trap" on Friday, luring "U.S. forces to the scene by tipping them off that a Taliban meeting was taking place" only to attack the helicopter with, in the official's words, "multiple shots" from "rockets and other modern weapons." NATO announced today that the Chinook was downed "by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade" while coming to the assistance of ground troops engaged in a firefight with insurgents in Wardak province.
Ever since the incident, however, some analysts and politicians have speculated about whether the Taliban is solely to blame for the assault. On Sunday, Politico's Mike Allen posted an email from an unidentified sender raising the possibility that Iranian intelligence had a hand in "training and equipping" the Taliban to carry out the operation. Today, another unidentified source tells Allen that he suspects Pakistan, not Iran. "Ninety-nine percent of fighters and weapons [in Wardak province] likely all came from Pakistan," the source notes. In an interview with Bloomberg over the weekend, British MP Mark Pritchard claimed Iran has been training Taliban fighters in the use of surface-to-air missiles and may now be supplying the militant group with advanced weapons as well.