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|December 9, 2013|
31 US troops killed in worst Afghan combat incident
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 the deadliest single combat incident for American troops in 10 years of war, according to an American official.
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. Obama, who learned of the deaths while at Camp David, mourned the deaths ofthe 7 Afghan soldiers killed, and issued a written statement saying Americans' thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who perished.
The crash is a reminder of the "extraordinary sacrifices" being made by America's military and its families, Obama wrote.
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 said the aircraft had apparently been shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated. (Source: MSNBC)
Story Date: August 7, 2011