Helicopter Crash Afghanistan
August 6, 2011 by staff
Helicopter Crash Afghanistan, A NATO helicopter crashed during a battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. soldiers Afghan and 7, the Afghan president said on Saturday, with devastating effects, and easily the worst incident of foreign troops in 10 years of war.
A brief statement from the presidential palace said the Chinook transport helicopter had crashed in troops Syedabad in central Maidan Wardak province, just west of the capital, Kabul, and identified the Americans as Special Forces troops.
The Taliban quickly claimed to have shot down the helicopter during a firefight, but the Islamic militant group often exaggerates incidents with foreign troops or Afghan government targets. He also said eight insurgents died in fighting torrid.
“They wanted to attack our mujahideen who were in a house, but our mujahideen resist and destroy a helicopter with a [RPG] RPG rockets,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“Eight Mujahideen were martyred and 38 Americans lost their lives and now the USA [soldiers] wear parts of his plane and destroyed parts of their bodies.”
NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed earlier that a helicopter had crashed, but gave no information on possible causes or casualties.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, “shared his deep sorrow and sadness” with the U.S. Barack Obama and U.S. counterpart U.S. families and Afghan victims, the statement from the palace.
Defence of Afghanistan, the ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy, also said the helicopter had crashed. He said the Afghans killed were also a commando unit.
“The incident is being investigated at this time as the helicopter belongs to the international forces,” he told Reuters television Azimy. “Obviously that will give more details of the accident and reason.”
The high death toll comes just two weeks after the start of a gradual process of delivery responsibility for the safety of foreign forces troops and Afghan police, and in a time of growing concern about the increasingly unpopular war and expensive.
This process must end with foreign combat troops out of Afghanistan in late 2014, but some U.S. lawmakers have questioned whether the delivery is fast enough.
Incidents with high death toll are sure to raise even more questions about the transition process and how long foreign troops should remain.
The accident was by far the worst incident of the war to foreign troops and surpassed the worst loss of the battlefield.
In April 2005, another Chinook CH-47 helicopter crashed, killing 15 U.S. soldiers and three civilian contractors. Another Chinook crash in June of that year killed 17 U.S. soldiers.
U.S. and other NATO commanders have claimed success in reversing the momentum of a growing insurgency in the heart of the Taliban in the south, though the insurgents have shown an ability to adapt their tactics worry and assembly of large attacks in other areas.
These gains, however, have a price, with 711 foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 2010, easily the deadliest year of the war for all concerned since the Taliban were ousted by U.S. troops backed by foreign end of 2001.
The accident in Maidan Wardak means that at least 374 foreign soldiers have died so far in 2011, over two thirds of them Americans, according to independent monitoring and maintaining icasualties.com Reuters data.
Neither ISAF nor the U.S. military in Afghanistan confirmed if there were victims in the accident, despite repeated phone calls, much less nationalities who may have been involved.
Most foreign troops in Wardak, which depends on the regional command of ISAF, are American.
Despite the alarming number of military, ordinary Afghan civilians have followed the most affected by war, civilian casualties is also hitting record highs in the first six months of this year, according to UN figures.
Earlier on Saturday, Afghan police said a NATO airstrike killed eight civilians in southern Helmand province on Friday.
ISAF confirmed there had been an airstrike in Nad Ali district of Helmand and said it was investigating whether civilians were present at the time.
Civilian casualties caused by foreign troops hunting Taliban fighters and other insurgents have long been a major source of friction between Kabul and its Western allies.
Nad Ali Khan district police chief Shidi said the air strike was called after the insurgents attacked ISAF troops in the area.
The victims of Friday’s air strike in Helmand were members of a family that had fled the fighting in neighboring Uruzgan province, police said.
The ISAF said that insurgents might have taken hostage civilians.
The most controversial of the first seven areas to be delivered was the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah province.
Helmand province has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the war. Much more foreign soldiers have died there than in any other province and there are still several districts in Helmand, dominated by the Taliban.
In the last month, insurgents have carried out a series of destabilization of high-profile assassinations of leaders of the South, including half-brother of President Karzai, and several major attacks on policemen and civilians killed.
A UN report last month said that 1462 civilians were killed in incidents related to the conflict in the first six months of 2011, 15 percent in the first half of 2010. He blamed insurgents for 80 percent of those deaths.
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