Obama mourns killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan

Last Updated: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 23:44

Washington: Led by President Barack Obama,
the US on Saturday mourned the death of its 31 soldiers in
Afghanistan who were killed after the Taliban shot down their
helicopter, even as Washington vowed to "stay the course" to
complete the mission in the war ravaged country.

"Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary
sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their
families, including all who have served in Afghanistan," Obama
said, on the deadliest single incident for foreign troops
since the war began in 2001 in Afghanistan.

Thirty-one US special forces and seven Afghan soldiers
were killed when the Taliban shot down their helicopter, media
reports quoting provincial officials said in Afghanistan.

The Chinook helicopter was downed late Friday during an
anti-Taliban operation in an insurgent-infested district of
the eastern province of Wardak, southwest of Kabul.

"We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue
the work of securing our country and standing up for the
values that they embodied. We also mourn the Afghans who died
alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful
future for their country," he said.

At this difficult hour, Obama said all Americans are
united in support of their men and women in uniform who serve
so that we they can live in freedom and security.

ABC news reported that among the 31 US soldiers killed 25
belonged to the elite US Navy SEALS.

"We will stay the course to complete that mission, for
which they and all who have served and lost their lives in
Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice," Defence
Secretary Leon Panetta said.

Deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans
in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts in Afghanistan,
Panetta, said their courage was exemplary, as was their
determination to make this a safer world for their countries
and for their fellow citizens.

"They and their families are in my thoughts, in my
prayers and in my heart," Panetta said.

The NATO Secretary General, Fogh Rasmussen said he is
deeply saddened by the deaths of US service members and Afghan
soldiers in today`s helicopter incident.

"In this tragic moment I would like to stress NATO`s
strong solidarity with the American and the Afghan people as
well as with their respective Governments," he said.

NATO and its allies, he said are determined to stay the
course, especially in this crucial period when Afghan and
international security forces are working closer than ever to
make transition a success.

Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, said the loss of US
men and women in uniform is always a great tragedy to the
nation.

"Today, on the deadliest day for American forces since
the war in Afghanistan began, we are reminded of the service
and sacrifice of our troops," she said.

"We pray for the families of those lost, that they may
find comfort in the deep and abiding gratitude of the American
people," Pelosi said.

Deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans
in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts in Afghanistan,
Panetta, said their courage was exemplary, as was their
determination to make this a safer world for their countries
and for their fellow citizens.

"They and their families are in my thoughts, in my
prayers and in my heart," Panetta said.

The NATO Secretary General, Fogh Rasmussen said he is
deeply saddened by the deaths of US service members and Afghan
soldiers in today`s helicopter incident.

"In this tragic moment I would like to stress NATO`s
strong solidarity with the American and the Afghan people as
well as with their respective Governments," he said.

NATO and its allies, he said are determined to stay the
course, especially in this crucial period when Afghan and
international security forces are working closer than ever to
make transition a success.

Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, said the loss of US
men and women in uniform is always a great tragedy to the
nation.

"Today, on the deadliest day for American forces since
the war in Afghanistan began, we are reminded of the service
and sacrifice of our troops," she said.

"We pray for the families of those lost, that they may
find comfort in the deep and abiding gratitude of the American
people," Pelosi said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 23:44

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