Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dozens of special operations forces have been killed after the Taliban shot down a Nato helicopter - 6th Aug 2011

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More than two dozen American troops are believed to have perished in the deadly helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, a U.S. military official told CNN.

Many, if not all, were special operations forces, the official said. If the numbers are confirmed, the incident would be the most deadly for coalition forces in the Afghan war, according to a CNN count of international troop deaths.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement saying as many as 31 U.S. special forces and seven Afghans were killed and offered "deep regret" to U.S. President Barack Obama.

The incident took place in the eastern province of Wardak, an area rife with insurgent activity. There has been a swell of recent attacks in the country's southern and eastern provinces.

The crash comes just as NATO is drawing down and handing over security control to national forces. Ten thousand U.S. soldiers are scheduled to depart by year's end, while the full drawn-down is expected to take place by the end of 2014.

The Taliban claimed militants downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Mohammad Hazrat Janan, head of the provincial council said Tangi village elders reported that insurgents shot at the craft when it was flying back from an operation.

However, NATO's International Security Assistance Force has not said how the incident occurred. ISAF spokesman Justin Brockhoff confirmed the crash and acknowledged the helicopter had been flying in area where there was reported insurgent activity, but declined to offer additional details.

Officials are being especially tight-lipped because recovery operations at the site are still under way and body identifications and family notifications are just beginning, the U.S. military official said. Read More

Update: Dozens of soldiers have been killed killed after the Taliban shot down a Nato helicopter - in the deadliest single attack on foreign troops since the Afghanistan war began in 2001. Read More