By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: August 16, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven American troops and three Afghan soldiers and an interpreter were killed after daybreak on Thursday when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, the American-led military command here said.
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A spokesman for the Taliban said the group had shot down the helicopter, but American officials said there was no indication yet that enemy fire was the cause. The helicopter crashed in a Taliban-controlled area in the northern part of Kandahar Province known as Shah Wali Kot at about 10 a.m. on Thursday, an official at the Kandahar provincial governor’s office said.
Maj. Martyn Crighton of the Army, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, said it was not yet clear whether mechanical failure or Taliban fire was responsible.
“Currently, there is no operational reporting that indicates the helicopter was brought down by enemy fire,” Major Crighton said. But he added that “it is far too early in the investigation to make any definitive statement about what caused the accident.” He said everyone on board the helicopter was killed, and he confirmed that the crash occurred in Kandahar Province. But he declined to specify the precise location, saying that recovery and investigative operations may still be under way.
Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar Province, said the helicopter crashed in the Chinalto area of Shah Wali Kot.“It could be insurgents that shot it down, or it could be a technical problem,” Mr. Faisal said, adding that no military operation was going on in the area at the time.
The Taliban had also claimed that its fighters in the Shah Wali Kot district had shot down a Chinook helicopter on Wednesday with a rocket-propelled grenade, killing 33 American troops who were flying overhead in support of a night raid on houses in the area, according to a translation of a Taliban statement by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Yet that statement was issued well before the time that both the Kandahar governor’s spokesman and the American-led military command said the crash occurred, and Major Crighton denied that any NATO helicopter had crashed on Wednesday.
Jawad Sukhanyar and Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting.
Tags: US, NATO, Occupation, Afghanistan, American, Copter, Down, Pakistan, terrorist, Punjabi, ISI I, ran
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
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