Saturday, August 6, 2011

Afghan helicopter crash kills 31 US troops

Taliban claims hit as seven Afghan troops also killed after aircraft crashes during operation against fighters in east.


"A NATO helicopter has crashed in east Afghanistan during an anti-Taliban operation, killing at least 31 members of the US special forces and seven Afghan troops, a statement from the Afghan president's office said.

"President Hamid Karzai was grieved by the deaths of 31 American Special Force troops after a helicopter they were on board crashed in a province," the statement said.

"Also on board this chopper were seven members of the Afghan Forces who too were all killed in the crash," it added, offering condolences to the families of the victims.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the crash.

The aircraft came down late on Friday in the eastern province of Wardak, southwest of the capital Kabul, Shahidullah Shahid, the provincial spokesman, said....

Taliban claims responsibility

In a written statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group claimed responsibility for the crash.

He said NATO had attacked a house in Sayd Abad where Taliban fighters were gathering on Friday.

The Taliban then fired on NATO and downed the helicopter, killing the crew, Mujahid said.

Aircraft crashes are relatively frequent in Afghanistan, where insecurity and difficult terrain make air travel essential for coalition forces transporting troops and equipment.

There have been at least 17 coalition and Afghan aircraft crashes in Afghanistan this year."

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