Saturday, August 6, 2011
The deaths represent the largest loss of military lives in a single incident in the course of the nearly 10-year-old war, and are a blow to Western efforts as the United States and its allies begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan in hopes of ending their combat role in the next three years.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, confirmed in a terse statement that a helicopter crash had occurred and acknowledged insurgent activity in the area at the time. A Western military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the twin-rotor Chinook helicopter had apparently been brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Karzai's statement identified the slain Americans as special operations forces. Sensitive to operational secrecy, special forces commanders as a rule are slower than other branches to publicly acknowledge combat casualties, which would account for the military's near-silence on the incident more than 12 hours after it occurred.
The helicopter went down after midnight in the Sayedabad district of Wardak province, west of the capital, Kabul, according to Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the provincial governor. He and other provincial officials said the crash followed a firefight that left eight insurgents dead.
Read more HERE: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-afghan-chopper-20110807,0,7157351.story
Photo shows close up of a U.S. Army Special Operations MH-47 Chinook helicopter with its distinctive refueling boom as a crewmember leans over one of the ship's two 7.62mm miniguns.
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