NATO helicopter crash kills 2 U.S. troops in Afghanistan
By KIM GAMEL
KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO helicopter crashed Tuesday in Afghanistan, killing two American service members.
The deaths raised to nine the number of Americans, including three civilians, killed in Afghanistan so far this month.
The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash is under investigation but initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time.
It did not immediately identify the nationalities of those killed. But a senior U.S. official confirmed they were Americans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information ahead of a formal announcement.
A local official, Mir Baz Khan, said the helicopter crashed in an agricultural field in the Pachir Wagam district in Nangarhar province.
Shir Azam, a teacher who lives in a village near the site, said he heard a loud explosion, then saw the helicopter in flames as it plunged to the ground.
Then, he said, more helicopters came and American troops sealed off the site. He also said he heard nothing to indicate any shooting before the crash.
Americans and other foreign troops rely heavily on helicopters and other aircraft for transportation and to avoid roadside bombs and other dangers on the ground in the mountainous country.
The deaths raised to at least 25 the number of American troops killed this year, according to an Associated Press tally.
With three weeks to go, April has already proven to be the deadliest month this year for Afghans and foreigners serving in the country, an ominous sign as the annual fighting season gets underway with improved weather. Fighting usually abates during the country’s harsh winter season.
A roadside bomb also killed three civilians and wounded three others as they were driving in Nawa district of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, according to provincial government spokesman Mohammad Omer Zawak.
At least 107 people have been killed — 62 Afghan civilians, 36 Afghan security forces, six U.S. service members and three American civilians, including Anne Smedinghoff, the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year’s attack in Benghazi, Libya.
The violence comes as U.S. and other foreign combat troops increasingly hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces as they prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.
The British Ministry of Defense said Tuesday that the last commando group of Royal Marines to serve in Afghanistan was returning home after more than a decade in the country.
Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul and Mirwais Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.