In related news, armyaircrews.com has begun to release the names of those killed in the Chinook crash. This appears to have been the third Class-A accident (one which results in either a destroyed aircraft, over $1 million worth of damages, or a fatality) for the 160th SOAR in the past two months, after an MH-60 crashed near Mt. Massive in Colorado in August, and another MH-60 crashed during a training mission on the USNS Arctic last week (ArmyAirCrews reports).
Update: Since the Chinook is a 160th aircraft, it's correctly an MH-47 Chinook, not a CH-47 Chinook.
Additionally, Wired's Danger Room reports that a dusty landing zone and night vision goggle conditions contributed to the accident. During takeoffs from dusty or snowy landing zones--particularly when conducted under night vision goggle conditions--aviators are nearly blind until they can climb above the dust cloud and transition to forward flight.
Afghanistan's mountains--with their high altitude, high temperatures, unpredictable weather conditions and, of course, Taliban--are often referred to as the "graduate work" of aviation.