31 Troops Killed After Helicopter Shot Down In Afghanistan - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

31 Troops Killed After Helicopter Shot Down In Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO helicopter crashed in Afghanistan killing 31 U.S. special-forces troops and 7 Afghan commandos, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday. It was easily the deadliest incident for foreign troops in 10 years of war.

A brief statement from the presidential palace said the helicopter had crashed in central Wardak province, an area west of Kabul. The volatile region is known for its strong Taliban presence.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai "shared his deep sorrow and sadness" with U.S. counterpart Barack Obama and the families of the U.S. and Afghan victims, the statement said.

The Taliban claimed to have shot down the troop-carrying Chinook helicopter during a firefight. The Islamist group also said in a statement that eight insurgents had been killed in the battle.

NBC News quoted a Taliban spokesman as claiming the U.S. troops were attacking a compound that was housing militants when the aircraft was brought down. However, the Taliban has been known to make exaggerated claims in the past.

A senior Obama administration official told The Associated Press that the aircraft had apparently been shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.


The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the overnight incident 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.

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