Afghanistan helicopter crash kills 2 U.S. troops
KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO helicopter crashed in a field in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing two American service members.
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.
The deaths raised to nine the number of Americans, including three civilians, killed in Afghanistan so far this month.
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: Extreme Rules was entertaining and smart
- Traveling amateur organists entertain fellow seniors with oldies music
- Reports grim for Pennsylvania’s state-run veterans homes
- Westmoreland County municipalities push to clean up litter, dumps
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- Forbes Avenue jeweler’s embedded sidewalk sign safely slides out to make way for Pittsburgh Playhouse project
- Lawyers donate thousands of dollars to Pennsylvania Supreme Court race
- Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School
- Senior at Pittsburgh’s CAPA school focuses spotlight on homeless students
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season