CNN Pundits Blame Iran For Attack On American Helicopter In Afghanistan

Posted with the permission of Think Progress

While the investigation continues into the deadly attack on a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan which resulted in 38 U.S. and Afghan deaths, the lack of information has led some right-wing pundits to point the finger at Iran. Last night, CNN’s John King interviewed Frances Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to George W. Bush, and Brad Thor, a thriller novelist.

Thor quickly jumped to the conclusion that Iran was responsible for the attack, leading John King to interject that the site of the helicopter crash — just southwest of Kabul — was much closer to Pakistan than Iran. But that didn’t stop Townsend, taking cues from an aspiring Tom Clancy, to continue the baseless hypothesizing about Iranian involvement. Thor started off by pushing the conversation toward Iran:

THOR: The Afghan government is completely corrupt and it’s riddled with Iranian spies. […]

KING: I’m not discounting the importance of any Iranian relationship, but this to me, based on the history and people you talk to, is a Pakistan issue, not necessarily an Iran issue, right?

TOWNSEND: That’s right John, except to Brad’s point, look, we have seen an increasing amount of Iranian involvement and support in Afghanistan. And oh, by the way, they have been spoilers inserting themselves into Afghanistan and undermining U.S. efforts. You know, the Iranians don’t always come in the front door and oftentimes they work through proxies and they insert themselves to cause Americans and American forces difficulty around the world. We saw it in Iraq, and that makes sense to everybody since that’s a neighbor, but we see it in places like Afghanistan as well.

THOR: Fran’s analysis is always spot on. It’s why I enjoy watching her so much. I’d like to add that there’s word out that whatever took down the helicopter might be known as an IRAM, an improvised, rocket assisted, mortar. We first saw this with Shiite extremists in Iraq with Iranian fingerprints all over them. And that’s why I’m so concerned. They call these things in the military “flying IEDs.” We don’t have confirmation on what brought this helicopter down but that and the fact that the Iranians have so penetrated not only the Afghan government but a lot of the indigenous support at our forward operating bases and around the country of Afghanistan makes me wonder. You know, the Taliban, they’re good but man, I don’t think they’re that good. I really think this has the fingerprints of Iranian cooperation on it.

Watch it:

A Lexis Nexis search for “Iran AND Afghanistan AND helicopter” turns up no relevant news accounts of Iranian involvement in the attack. It would seem that Thor and Townsend are currently the only pundits to subscribe to the Iranian-bogeyman theory of how the U.S. suffered its single worst day of casualties in Afghanistan. (HT: and Bahman Kalbasi)

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Seems the neo-CONS and their assorted Zionist Likudniks in Israel are hell bent on dragging the US into yet another disasterous war that have the potential to either eliminate the US from the entire Middle East or breakup the US…Americans must rise up before it’s too late..

    The US government has now become a guns/government for hire by special interest groups from any country that wants power so long as they pledge allegiance to the bankers in Wall street.

  2. Why does a Tom Clancy wannbe get invited to pontificate on CNN?

  3. why don’t they blame China, now that’s a war that would take some ramping up for. If we asks qui bono, it’s China as they seem to be enjoying access to Afghan natural resources.

  4. RE: “While the investigation continues into the deadly attack on a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan…the lack of information has led some right-wing pundits to point the finger at Iran.” ~ Eli Clifton

    MY COMMENT: Isn’t this sort of attack exactly what the CIA taught the mujahideen in Afghanistan to do back in the 1980s? Of course, the attacks were on Soviet helicopters back then. And Stinger missiles were preferred over RPGs (thanks to Charlie Wilson).
    The RPG used here was most likely made by the U.S., since we flooded Afghanistan with them back in the 1980s.

  5. This is a timely article.Thoughtful and thought-provoking.Anti-Iran stance of CNN began with dismissal of well-placed Iranian born individuals like Christine Amanpour and Rudi Bakhtiar from the network.In fact the network has gone biased against Iranians for quite a while now.I nominated individual Iranians who devoted their life for the deprived poeple in Iran and elsewhere for CNN Hero program since 2008.Finally this time I recieved message from one of the CNN Hero organizers in facebook that read since Iran is under sanction,Iraniand are not allowed to be nominated for the program.

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