31 US special operation troops were killed in an Afghan helicopter crash. The Taliban took credit for taking the helicopter down. It was believed to be the deadliest helicopter crash in the nearly decade-long war.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it had shot the helicopter down. (Dawn)
An eyewitness said it was struck in a firefight. If confirmed, Saturday’s crash would be the deadliest day for US forces since the war began.
The AP reported:
A helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province killed 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan soldiers, the country’s president said Saturday. It was the highest number of American casualties recorded in a single incident in the decade-long war.
President Hamid Karzai sent his condolences to President Barack Obama, according to a statement issued by his office. “A NATO helicopter crashed last night in Wardak province,” Karzai said in the statement, adding that 31 American special operations troops were killed.
“President Karzai expressed his deep condolences because of this incident and expressed his sympathy to Barack Obama.” The Taliban claimed to have brought the helicopter down with a rocket attack, but they have been known to make exaggerated claims in the past. NATO confirmed the overnight crash and said there “was enemy activity in the area.”
But it said it was still investigating the cause. The alliance was conducting a recovery operation at the site, it said, without releasing details or a casualty figure. “We are aware of an incident involving a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman.
“We are in the process of accessing the facts.” The helicopter was a twin-rotor Chinook, which are used for transport, said an official at NATO headquarters in Brussels, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.
In June the White House confirmed that they were holding peace talks with the Taliban.