Prayers and condolences to their families.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A military helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan commandos, the country’s president said Saturday. An American official said it was apparently shot down, in the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.
The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene.
NATO confirmed the overnight crash took place and that there “was enemy activity in the area.” But it said it was still investigating the cause and conducting a recovery operation at the site. It did not release details or casualty figures.
“We are in the process of accessing the facts,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman.
But a senior U.S. administration official in Washington said it was apparently shot down. by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.
(ABC News) — A helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 31 Americans, including as many as 25 Navy SEALs in one of the worst single-day U.S. losses of life since the war began, a senior military official told ABC News early this morning.
A total of 38 people were on board the Chinook helicopter when it crashed overnight in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak.
Initial reports indicate up to 25 Navy SEALs were on the aircraft at the time.
It was also carrying seven Afghan Special Forces troops, one interpreter, five member helicopter crew and one dog.
Troops were apparently involved in a raid at the time.
“We are aware of an incident involving a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan,” U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman, told the Associated Press. “We are in the process of accessing the facts.”
Although the Taliban have claimed to have shot the helicopter down, the exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Saturday’s deaths bring the total number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan to 334 this year, according to the Associated Press.
The last worst one-day U.S. casuality record in Afghanistan was on June 28, 2005 when 16 U.S. soldiers were killed in Kunar province after a helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents.