10 American soldiers killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan

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Saturday, May 6, 2006

A similar U.S. Army CH-47 lifts a Howitzer.

Ten American soldiers were killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border close to a landing zone in the Kunar province. A military spokesman said it crashed while conducting combat operations. The Soldiers were involved with Operation Mountain Lion, which is aimed at rooting out al-Qaeda and former Taliban militants.

"The remains of all the 10 soldiers have been found and there are no survivors. There is no indication that the helicopter came down due to some enemy action. Additional aircraft and crews were also at the landing zone and confirmed that enemy forces did not cause the crash," said Lt. Tamara D. Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military.

However; Muhamad Hanif, a Taliban spokesman, said that the crash was the result of the Taliban. He also said that advanced weaponry was used to shoot down helicopters.

"We have no indication that that happened," said Lawrence in response to Hanif's claim. "The crash occurred in a very mountainous terrain and the landing zone was very difficult. It was a mountain-top landing zone. There were various weather factors that could have come into play…. There were high winds. We are investigating any possible causes for the accident but there were no enemy actions detected at the scene," she added.

In June of 2005, Taliban forces brought down a Chinook in the same province, which killed all American soldiers onboard. According to the military, rocket-propelled grenades were used in that attack.

There are at least 20,000 coalition forces in Afghanistan; 18,000 of them are American soldiers. At least 2,500 of the American soldiers are also involved with Operation Mountain Lion.

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