Afghanistan: helicopter crash kills 7 US soldiers, 4 Afghans


A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies over a valley in Afghanistan. An Afghan official says the Taliban laid an elaborate trap for the Chinook they shot down on Friday, killing 38 troops including 30 Americans.


Ted Aljibe

A Black Hawk helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan today, killing all 11 people on board, officials told the Associated Press.

US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told AP three of the seven US soldiers killed were special operations forces, two Navy SEALS and one Navy bomb specialist. 

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred in the Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province.

"The crash resulted in the deaths of four International Security Assistance Force service members, three United States Forces-Afghanistan service members, three members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and one Afghan civilian interpreter," the International Security Assistance Force said.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the BBC reported that its claims could not be verified.

"Nobody survived this," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told AP by phone, claiming militants shot the aircraft down.

However, it is not clear what caused the crash. US officials said immediate reports suggested it had not been shot down, but cautioned that investigations were ongoing, said AP

According to the AFP, because the NATO mission relies heavily on air transport, helicopter crashes are frequent in Afghanistan.

Last year, an American Chinook was shot down by the Taliban near Kabul. The attack killed eight Afghans, and 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden last May.