The Story Behind Biden’s Emergency Helicopter Landing in Afghanistan

By Natalie Gewargis

Sep 22, 2008 6:19pm

"Ladies and gentlemen, where are we now? Where are we now?" Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said to the National Guard Association today, talking about the war in Afghanistan.

"If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me," Biden said. "Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are."

Biden said that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., "says he’ll follow them to the gates of hell. You don’t have to go to hell. Just go to Pakistan. Just go to that area. That superhighway of terror that exists between Afghanistan and Pakistan."

We hadn’t heard before about Biden’s helicopter being forced down, so we did some Googling.

After all, earlier this month at a fundraiser, he made a similar remark, when discussing how he doesn’t care about the Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s controversies like whether she sold a state plane on eBay, or when she went from supporting to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere.

"What I care about is: What in God’s name is she going to do — along with John McCain — about the thousands of people who don’t have health care?" Biden said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Biden said he would ask Palin about "The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down…John McCain wants to know where Bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That’s where Al Qaeda is. That’s where Bin Laden is. It’s not in the country of Iraq."

In February 2008, Biden — along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. — was on a chopper that made an emergency landing in the mountains of Afghanistan.

A snowstorm had forced them down.

No one was injured, and the Associated Press reported at the time that "the senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and left for Turkey.

"The weather closed in on us," Kerry told the AP at the time in a phone interview from Turkey. "It went pretty blind, pretty fast and we were around some pretty dangerous ridges. So the pilot exercised his judgment that we were better off putting down there, and we all agreed…We sat up there and traded stories."

Kerry joked, "We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to do it…Other than getting a little cold, it was fine." 

– Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe

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