NATO investigates deadly Afghanistan copter crash

The Afghan Taliban claimed that its militants shot down the copter in Wardak province.

Washington: As the US mourned the death of its
30 soldiers, including Navy SEALs from the broader unit that
killed Osama bin Laden, in a chopper crash in Afghanistan, a
probe has been launched to determine the exact cause of the
incident that led to the biggest single loss for American
troops in the decade-long war.

"No words describe the sorrow we feel in the wake of this
tragic loss" of 38 lives -- 30 US troops, seven Afghan
commandos and an interpreter, General John R Allen,
International Security Assistant Force Commander (ISAF), said
in a statement from Kabul.

Following the crash yesterday, the Afghan Taliban claimed
that its militants shot down the helicopter in Wardak province
of Afghanistan, according to SITE intelligence.

Among those killed in the deadliest attack on the foreign
troops were 25 US special operations forces troops, including
22 Navy SEALS from the same group which was involved in the
covert US military operation to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden in May this year. But none of the SEAL members, who died
yesterday, were personally involved in the Osama operation.

Besides, five more US soldiers, seven Afghan troops and an
interpreter died in the crash of the helicopter during an
anti-Taliban operation.

"All of those killed in this operation were true heroes
who had already given so much in the defence of freedom,"
Allen said.

An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause
of the crash, the ISAF statement said.

"This tragic incident, once again reminds us of the
tremendous sacrifices the brave soldiers of our two countries
are making every day alongside each other to bring peace and
security to our nations and to make the world a safer place
for all of us," Afghan Ambassador to the US, Eklil Hakimi,

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said: "Their
sacrifice will not be in vain. Every single day, our men and
women in uniform put their lives at risk to defend our nation
and make the world a safer place."

The tragedy "is a sobering reminder of their selfless
commitment to our nation," he said.

"This tragedy is felt by all Americans, and especially by
our men and women in uniform, who continue to do more than
their fair share to keep America safe," said Senator John

Senator Joe Lieberman mourned the loss of "the brave
heroes in Afghanistan who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so
that we may be safe and free."

"The American patriots who we lost today were among the
very best of our best, and they were fighting in a just and
necessary war. They served with extraordinary courage and
talent, dedicating their lives to our nation."


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