Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, met with Pakistan's top leaders Monday. In a news conference in Islamabad afterwards Sen. Kerry said he received assurance from that country's leadership that the helicopter tail will be returned to the U.S.
Immediately after Kerry's visit, discussion started between the U.S. military and its Pakistani counterparts about how best to arrange the transfer of the helicopter tail. While the Pentagon doesn't have a confirmation that it has been transferred to U.S. custody, officials at the Defense Department say it doesn't necessarily mean it's not in U.S. hands - though it looks unlikely the U.S. has taken possession at this point.
It seems the two sides are continuing to work out the details. Asked Friday whether the helicopter tail is still in Pakistan, a Pentagon official was non committal. On whether the transfer would be done through Afghanistan where the tail could possibly be loaded onto a C-17 for further transport, the same official said that would be "probably likely with any kind of plan like this." There will probably be two or three other planes involved, taking into consideration weather and other factors, although the official could not confirm details.
The high-tech helicopter tail has remained one of the biggest worries following the raid in Abbottabad where bin Laden was killed. The tail includes technology unique to the U.S. military, and officials have been nervous it could fall into the wrong hands.
The radar-evading Blackhawks used in the raid on bin Ladin's compound, along with other types of aircraft, have been rumored to exist. It was not until now, that the shades of this top secret helicopter program and its existence have been revealed, though still not publically confirmed.