31 US Occupation Troops Killed in Afghanistan
Thirty-one members of the US occupation special forces were killed when a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan.
“This helicopter crashed in Wardak province last night, as a result of which including the crew members, 31 personnel of American Special Forces lost their lives”, a statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said Saturday. [...]
The statement said that seven Afghan troops were also killed in the incident.
The crash late Friday represents the biggest death toll in a single incident for international forces in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001.
The helicopter from the NATO-led foreign force has crashed during an anti-Taliban operation in the eastern province of Wardak, southwest of Afghan capital Kabul, a provincial spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, said.
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.
Earlier before the presidential statement, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was still looking into what had happened.
“An International Security Assistance Force helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan today and recovery operations are under way”, a spokesman for ISAF, the foreign military force in Afghanistan, said.
“ISAF is still in the process of assessing the circumstances to determine the facts of the incident. Reporting indicates there was enemy activity in the area.”
An eyewitness told AFP news agency that the helicopter had crashed as it was trying to take off after landing on the roof of a Taliban commander’s home during a firefight.