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U.S. soldier killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, March 16, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing one member of the U.S.-led coalition and injuring a second in what was the second fatal air crash in the country in a week, NATO officials said.

Capt. Luca Carniel, a spokesman for the coalition, said there was no enemy activity in the area and that the cause of the crash was being investigated. The helicopter went down in Daman district, a few miles east of Kandahar, said Javeed Faisal, the spokesman for Kandahar province.

On Monday, a Black Hawk crashed outside Kandahar, killing five U.S. soldiers. Two were killed that day by an insider attack, making Monday the deadliest day for troops so far this year.

In addition to the casualties, officials are trying to contend with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's remarks that were so anti-American, they prompted top NATO commander Gen. Joseph Dunford to issue a warning to his commanders by confidential email to be on watch for violent blowback, in the form of more insurgent and insider attacks.

When the email was leaked, Karzai's office responded by saying his comments “were meant to help reform, not destroy the relationship.”

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke on the phone with Karzai on Saturday to discuss Karzai's concerns, including the handover of the U.S.-run detention facility next to Bagram Air Field, according to Pentagon press secretary George Little.

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