11 Sep. 2008
PR# 2008-478

"Tail kit" failure caused bomb to miss target September 9

KABUL, Afghanistan - An official investigation concluded that the “tail kit” of a GBU-31 bomb failed causing it to miss its target and land in a small village in Sabari district, Khowst, September 9.

The “tail kit” includes an inertial navigation system, which when it failed in this case, the bomb landed 2.7 kilometers west of the programmed target.

The events leading to the accident began Sept. 8 when two helicopters found three insurgents positioning a 107mm rocket pointed toward the Zambar District Center in Sabari. The helicopters were unable to completely destroy the rocket position.

The following day, ISAF forces re-acquired the location of the rocket and requested assistance from a close air support aircraft. The air crew first confirmed with ground forces that the area was clear then dropped four bombs, each landing on the target. However, ISAF forces on the ground reported that the strike failed to destroy the rocket, so the bomber was cleared to re-engage the insurgent position.

During the second attack is when the tail kit failed in the single GBU-31 that was dropped, sending it accidently toward a populated area.

ISAF and Afghan National Army forces launched from separate locations to the impact site to begin medical assistance and evacuations of those injured. Initial ISAF reports indicated that the accident had killed two civilians and injured 10; however, those reports did not include the seven additional wounded civilians evacuated by the Afghan National Police to the Khowst hospital.

While ISAF troops provided immediate medical assistance and evacuation, Governor Jamal and a senior ISAF officer conducted a shura with the local village elders and leaders to explain the facts of the incident and describe how the bomb was not intended to strike the village.

Currently, ISAF is working with provincial leaders to provide reparations to the village and families affected by this accident.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/