Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Up to 20 American Troops on US chopper down in Afghanistan-

Tue Jun 28, 4:04 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A big U.S. military Chinook helicopter that crashed in
Afghanistan on Tuesday was carrying between 15 and 20 American troops, according to preliminary reports, a U.S. defense official said.

There was no immediate indication of the fate of the passengers or the cause of the crash, according to the U.S. military. But an Afghan official said that a rocket was fired at the helicopter.

"A rocket was fired at an American helicopter in the district," said the official in Kunar province, who requested anonymity.

In Washington, the U.S. defense official, who asked not to be identified, cautioned at the
Pentagon that early reports were sketchy from the rugged area near the border with Pakistan where the twin-rotor CH-47 went down.

"Reports indicate between 15 and 20 were aboard," said the official.

Another Pentagon official, who also asked not to be named, said: "I wouldn't rule out anything."

The crash occurred west of the city of Asadabad in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, and the CH-47 was transporting troops into an area in support of U.S. forces, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Up to 20 on US chopper down in Afghanistan-official - Yahoo! News

A spokesman for the ousted Taliban regime claimed responsibility for the crash in the eastern province of Kunar, which has been a traditional stronghold of Taliban and other Islamic militants.

"We shot down a helicopter in Kunar," Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Latif Hakimi told AFP by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.

The US said the "cause of the crash and the state of the survivors," remained unclear, but added there was an ongoing operation in the province with US fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters currently providing close air support to the forces on the ground.

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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